Ukunda Aerodrome at the Kenya coast to get runway extension
Thursday 22 January 2015
Tourism infrastructure at the Kenya coast, south of Mombasa, will get a major boost when the upcoming expansion of the Ukunda aerodrome is completed. Ukunda has for long served as Diani Beach’s primary airfield from which tourists take off every morning for air safaris to Kenya’s national parks. Equally important though are the daily scheduled flights from Nairobi’s Wilson Airport by safari t our operators that depend on the aircraft used on the specified day can get tourists, and of course local Diani residents, to the capital and vice versa in the space of just over an hour.
The present runway length of about 1.1 kilometres is capable of handling medium-sized twin engine turboprop aircraft like the Bombardier Dash 8 or even ATR aircraft, but it was too short for the introduction of smaller jets like the CRJ200.
The Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) has now confirmed that the expansion of Ukunda will include not only the construction of a new terminal building but also the lengthening of the runway to an overall length of 2 kilometres.
Tourism stakeholders with businesses in Diani have expressed their satisfaction that after many years of advocating for an expansion of Ukunda this is now finally falling into place. While the sector faces ongoing challenges, the new facilities, when complete, will no doubt help to facilitate additional arrivals to Diani by air, and it is expected that scheduled flights to and from Kenya’s main aviation gateway, Jomo Kenyatta International, will be launched to avoid the troublesome transit via the Mombasa airport and onward road transfer across the Likoni channel.