#KENYA TO SPEND 70 MILLION US DOLLARS TO IMPROVE THE COAST’S MAIN AIRPORT
(Posted 21st November 2018)
The official groundbreaking ceremony took place yesterday at the Moi International Airport in Mombasa, setting the ball rolling for some major improvements to the coast’s main gateway to the world.
The 70+ billion Kenya Shillings project includes a new lighting system and repaving on the airside of the airport, among other elements.
Official data suggest that the airport has a capacity of 2 million passengers a year but arrival figures at hand show that only a fraction of that capacity is being used, largely due to the drop in charter flights to Mombasa.
While the number of charter flights has risen over the past 12 months is it still a far cry from the heydays of tourism to the Kenya coast, prompting the tourism sector to repeatedly, and with growing urgency, demand for an opening of the airport to international airlines.
Currently it is only RwandAir, Turkish Airlines and Ethiopian Airlines – the latter notably kept out of Malindi to where the airline could easily operate one of their Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft from Addis Ababa – flying scheduled services to Mombasa with Qatar Airways having indicated they will commence a four flights per week seasonal schedule to Mombasa from mid December.
Also notably has Kenya Airways continued to refuse routing at least one of their London flights via Mombasa, which according to some leading tourism stakeholders would have been a better option to bring traffic to the Kenya coast after the airlines had to substantially reduce already the much fanfared daily flights to New York.