A plan by Kericho Governor Paul Chepkwony to construct an economically viable airstrip in Kericho County yesterday edged closer to becoming a reality after a team from the Kenya Air Force toured the dusty Kerenga Airstrip yesterday.
Prof Chepkwony and County Executive Committee Member for Public Works, Roads and Transport Charles Birech who took the Air force officers on a tour of the facility, announced that the team were in Kericho to assess the current situation and advice on the direction that the upgrade should take.
Prof Chepkwony announced that the County Government had set aside Sh100 Million to kick off the project and outlined the enormous economic benefits that Kericho stood to gain from having an airstrip.
“We have a lot of products which need to be exported to markets far and wide and this airstrip will come in handy in that plan. This airstrip will attract investors and since we are also building a sports arena, we also hope to encourage sports tourism to Kericho County,” said Prof Chepkwony.
The airstrip will be developed in phases, starting with the extension of the runway from the current 1.2 Kilometers to 3.7 Kilometers which would allow large aircraft to land as the dusty runway can only accommodate small aircraft at the moment.
Also in attendance was County Secretary Joel Bett, Roads Chief Officer Eng. Peter Koskey and several other officials of the county government.
The Kenya Air Force officers said they were ready to hit the road, and assured Prof Chepkwony that they would provide quality technical advice to the County Government on what needed to be done to turn Kerenga Airstrip from its current state to an internationally accredited airstrip. Their advice will focus on the design of the planned facility as well as the security adjustments that will be required to ensure the safety of those using the airstrip as well as the residents living around the facility.
The project is being undertaken with support from the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority and the Kenya Airports Authority whose mandate includes the management of airfields across the county.
Prof Chepkwony further noted that the establishment of a modern airport will not only help create new markets for local products, but will also attract new investments in the county and create much needed employment for young people. The county boss observed that plans to set up a tourism circuit were also at an advanced stage, adding that the Kerenga facility will play a key role in bringing in domestic and foreign tourists into Kericho.
We have a lot of products which need to be exported to markets far and wide and this airstrip will come in handy in that plan. This airstrip will attract investors and since we are also building a sports arena, we also hope to encourage sports tourism to Kericho County.