Howdy! 😀 Consider this for a moment…how well do you know Kenya?
This question recently confronted me, when Kenya Airports Authority invited us over for a Tour of the new Isiolo International Airport. Admittedly, I was shocked at how much more there is to learn about our beloved country! 😀
Did You Know?? Isiolo County is the heart of Kenya… When you look at the Map of Kenya , you’ll see that Isiolo lies smack in the middle! 😀
Kenya’s 5th Fully-fledged International Airport
Initially, I assumed that we were going to see a small Airport, perhaps even an Airstrip. But as it turned out, the joke was on me! 😀
With a capacity of 125,000 passengers per year, Isiolo International Airport is far from an Airstrip, it is a fully-fledged Airport.
Isiolo marks the 5th International Airport in Kenya; following JKIA, Mombasa, Kisumu, and Eldoret.
According to Mr. Johnny Andersen, the KAA Managing Director, this categorization is due to its potential for International Traffic, as well as Cargo and Passenger growth.
We started off at the car-park, where the wind was so strong that I was afraid it would blow us away. 😀 The car-park can accommodate up to 200 cars.
When I ventured into the Airport Terminal building, it felt good to walk in without undergoing numerous checks.
or having to take off my shoes 😀
Inside the terminal, you’ll find: a VIP lounge as well as 9 Check-in counters for both Domestic and International flights.
They foresee that duty-free shops, banking facilities, Forex bureaus & restaurants will soon take up space at the Terminal.
My best part of the tour was possibly the Runway; without a plane in sight, it looked like a never ending spray of tarmac!
The runway is 1.4km long with the capacity to land international flights, without unnecessary stopovers in Nairobi.
Commercial flights have not commenced as yet, however, Fly540 and SAX have started operating chartered flights from Nairobi.
Things You Probably Did Not Know About Isiolo
This trip enlightened me on a couple of things about Isiolo County:
Did You Know??
- Isiolo International Airport sits at the border of Isiolo and Meru County. The 1.4Km runway extends about 500m into Meru County.
- Travel time from Nairobi to Isiolo by road, takes about 4-5 hours. But with the airport, the time will be reduced to about 1 hour or so.
- Isiolo Int. Airport is designed to open up the Northern part of Kenya to tourism, and is a key part of the LAPSSET Corridor Program. The ongoing infrastructure project is aimed at connecting Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia.
- As part of LAPSSET, Isiolo will be home to the first of 3 Resort Cities ever established in Kenya, under Vision 2030.
- Isiolo Resort City will feature: Amusement Parks, Golf courses, high-end hotel facilities and more. The other 2 Resort Cities will be put up in Lamu and Lake Turkana region.
Opportunities That the Isiolo International Airport Will Create
Improved Business Prospects
Isiolo International Airport stands to propel the Cargo business, for fresh produce from the region.
Isiolo is huge on the meat export business. However, in the past they’ve mostly had to transport live cattle for slaughter in Nairobi, and other areas. With the Airport, there’s potential to set-up their own Slaughter houses in the near future & start exporting ready meat.
Similarly, Meru is well known for producing and exporting miraa(khat) to Juba, Ethiopia, Somalia and various parts of Kenya, like Mombasa.
The Miraa Growers & Transporters’ Representative present for the tour, was ecstatic, citing that the new airport will greatly reduce transportation time, boosting business.
It will further reduce common accidents on the road, caused during transportation of miraa.
‘This represents much more than an airport…it represents the future, jobs and opportunities…connecting Isiolo to the world.’ ~Johnny Anderson, MD, Kenya Airports Authority.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!
I found this observation quite interesting, that I simply must share! 😀 Per International Standards, 1 airport job, creates 9 other jobs in the area, in this case Isiolo.
An airport, is a community of service contributors. Thus, while KAA is responsible for providing infrastructure and security, others like KRA, the Kenya Police, Airlines & Forex bureaus will come in to provide other essential services.
Additionally, with the expected flourishing Cargo business and Tourism, the prospects for job creation are endless!
P.S. You never know, perhaps your next job, your friend or children’s opportunities are in Isiolo> Share this post with a friend. 🙂 😉
Connecting Northern Kenya to the World: Local & International Tourism
You know I had to save the best one for last! 🙂 For a long time, Northern Kenya has been characterized as inaccessible and remote…
The launch of Isiolo International Airport, represents amazing opportunities not only for Isiolo, but also the surrounding counties like: Samburu, Meru, and Turkana & Marsabit.
The region is ripe for tourism with some of the best Game Parks in Kenya. The counties boast of rich wildlife (exotic animals, bird sanctuaries) found in: Buffalo Springs, Samburu National Park, Shaba National Park & the Meru National Park.
Furthermore, this region has access to some of the best lodges and to unique attractions like Mount Ololokwe, Mount Kenya Conservancy and the Lewa Conservancy.
Soon, both local and international tourists will be able to fly to Isiolo, and connect to these attractions. This is excellent because you can now save time spent on the road, for exploration. #Win 🙂
As I connect the dots backwards, I feel honored to have been part of this tour. Firstly, touring an Airport without the usual restrictions, was a gift in itself. 🙂
Best of all, I look forward to Isiolo’s transformation in the next 10-20 years… I hope that someday, we can tell future generations how we witnessed the inception of Isiolo’s remarkable journey. 🙂
A huge Thank You to the kind folks at Kenya Airports Authority, for according us this amazing chance and privilege. 😀
Tip: Check out this post on The Sarova Shaba Game Lodge Challenge!
I appreciate you for reading my dear friends! 🙂 Be sure to leave a comment, question or any feedback you might have in the Comments’ section below. I’ll be sure to respond. 🙂 😀
<<Sending You Love & Light. Stay Inspired Always.>>
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Photography Credits: KAA Collection, Patrick Muntzinger & Marion Mithamo.