US to Expand Manda Bay Airstrip Runway to 4th Largest In Kenya

Vehicles at the check point to enter the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)
Vehicles at the checkpoint to enter the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)
AirInsights Group

The United States on Thursday announced its commitment to expand Manda Bay Airstrip as part of stringent measures to fight terrorism.

While confirming the imminent deal, President Joe Biden's administration noted that the expansion would include the expansion of the airstrip's runway.

According to the statement by the White House, the construction of the 10,000-foot runway will enhance Kenya's efforts to eradicate the Al-Shabaab terror group.

“Underscoring our shared commitment in the fight against terrorism, the US and Kenyan officials plan to sign a Memorandum of Understanding to expand the Manda Bay Airfield,” read part of a statement by the White House. 

An aerial view of runway used by planes to land
An aerial view of a runway used by planes to land

The expanded facility will provide Kenya with the required infrastructure to increase operations by bolstering regional security.

Upon its completion, the runway could place Manda Bay which is located in Lamu County as one of Kenya's largest landing fields. 

The 10,000-foot runway will become the 4th largest in Kenya after the runways in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) which is 13,507 feet long, the Moi International Airport in Mombasa which is 10,999 feet and Eldoret Airport which is 11400 foot.

The revamp will also see the airstrip cater for large-scale aircraft services including hosting larger aeroplanes on improved runways.

America's agreement with Kenya comes barely a month after the Cabinet approved the expansion of Manda Bay.

The Cabinet approved its renovation after years of delays in expanding the airstrip that has been of immense help to the Kenya Defence Forces.

The project which stalled for almost eight years saw tourism stakeholders in Lamu County express their displeasure at the government's reluctance to complete the repairs.

The stakeholders in tourism noted the lack of a landing zone for larger planes in the region was hindering tourism in the area.

Initially, the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) was tasked with the role of presiding over the expansion of the runway but it delayed in completing the renovation. 

However, the contractor who was deployed by KAA to make the repairs cited the inadequacy of water as a main challenge in the stalled project.

Cabinet meeting held at State House, Nairobi, on May 2, 2024.



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