The present rehabilitation and expansion of the airport in Kisumu to eventually give it full international status and facilities to operate long-haul aircraft in and out of the Kenyan lakeside city, is now apparently also to include a further lengthening of the runway. Initially the runway stretched over just about 2,000 meters and was due to be lengthened to 3,000 meters during the present modernization of the airport. It now appears that the Kenya Airports Authority intends to add a further 300 meters in length to the runway, which will make it suitable for wide-bodied airplanes to land and take off safely.
This measure, while clearly aimed at the passenger market – president Obama’s paternal homestead is not far from Kisumu and now subject to a steady and growing stream of visitors – must also be aimed at the cargo market since much of Kenya’s lake fish is being processed at or near Kisumu and has to go by road to Nairobi from where it is presently being flown out to the consumer markets in Europe and the Middle East. However, as is the case with Entebbe, across Lake Victoria in Uganda – the elevation of Kisumu is substantially less than Nairobi, which would permit cargo charters either greater uploads or wider range while saving on refrigerated road transportation of the fish to the capital.
Kisumu is presently being served several times a day by airlines from Nairobi, such as ALS (from Wilson Airport using a turboprop Dash 8) Fly540, Jetlink, and Kenya Airways using CRJs and Embraers from the international airport and a range of charter companies flying travelers on demand.