The Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) has invited bidders for the construction and management of a 100, 000-litre fuel depot at the Kisumu International Airport.

Construction of the depot comes at a time when more budget carriers have increased flights to the lakeside city.

Jambojet, a subsidiary of Kenya Airways, operates 27 flights every week to Kisumu.

Other carriers on the Nairobi-Kisumu route are Kenya Airways, 748 Air Service, Air Renegade, FLY540, and Air Kenya.

The route’s growing popularity is also forcing airlines that had stopped flights to reconsider their decision.

We realized there was a niche with the midday flights. Some passengers would come in the morning, do their business but want to get back to Nairobi by midday,” said Fly Safarilink operations manager Sammy Ogola.

“The midday flight has picked up so fast. But the demand for flights is usually higher on the weekends on Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays.”

Increased competition

In the six months to June this year, international arrivals fell 21.7 percent to 305,635.

This is from 390,335 during a similar period last year, according to the Tourism Research Institute data.

A Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) hotel survey showed that accommodation by foreign visitors jumped to 20.5 percent in September from 19.8 percent in July.

In its 2019/20 report, KAA data showed that domestic air travels increased by 200 percent despite the Covid-19 setback.

For example, the number of arrivals and departures on the Wilson-Kisumu route increased to 245,637 in 2020/21 from 48,078.

Out of 126 domestic destinations from Wilson Airport, Kisumu registered eight percent of passenger movement,” said KAA managing director Alex Gitari.

KAA Rehabilitation Plans

KAA plans to rehabilitate the old airport and passenger terminal at Kisumu International Airport.

This is in preparation for the 9th Edition of the Africities Summit scheduled to take place next year in April.

It has set aside Sh157 million for the rehabilitation of the passenger terminal.

This is including fixing floors, walling, ceiling, air conditioning, electrical and other auxiliary works according to Business Daily.

According to KAA projects and engineering services General manager, Fred Odawo the rehabilitation work should be ready before April next year.