Friday, 7 February 2014

The Planed Relocation of Kisumu Airport to a New Location in Future


Kisumu’s airport has been in its current location since the beginning

of the 20th century. It was at the time in a farmland area, predominantly

occupied by rural settlements. Demographic growth and related

sprawl have caused the areas surrounding the airport to become

more densely populated, especially between the Kisumu-to-Busia

road and the foot of Riat hills, as well as to the West of the landing

strip. Over the same period, air traffic has grown, with an acceleration

after the upgrading of the airport now able to receive high-capacity

air liners and air freighters, generating increased road traffic

and a higher environmental impact. Whilst increased air capacity is

positive for the county and the city in terms of business development,

including for tourism, the airport in its present location raises a number

of issues:

Increased environmental impact is making its surroundings increasingly

less adapted to human settlements and current urbanization

trends causing rising density to near the airport will only worsen

these conditions. This evolution is not uncommon where airports

finds themselves in the way of urban growth which impedes their development

as they need to expand.

On the other hand, the airport is located on the side of the city which

is best suited to accommodate foreseeable spatial needs: the northern

part of the gulf.

The airport relocation, whilst needed, is an important decision : it

implies important decommissioning costs, and land, infrastructure,

utilities and building costs for the new facility in an area yet to be

identified. East Kolwa or Ahero, both to the South East of the city,

have already been mentioned as possible locations for a new airport;

traffic interruption would also need to be kept to a minimum. Land

required would need to be at least as large as the present KAA designated

land. Part of relocation costs could be covered by the development

of the current airport land which is one of the most desirable

location in the city (together with KRC lakeside holding).