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Transportation of good and services within the Rift region is set to benefit from the proposed Nakuru airstrip upgrade. According to Construction KenyaConstruction of a long-awaited Nakuru Airport is set to get underway, following the completion of the designs of the facility that seeks to boost tourism and horticulture businesses in the county. The Nakuru Airport will be the end result of an Sh.2 billion upgrade of the Lanet Airstrip, which serves the Kenya Defence Forces. The project will convert the airstrip into a civilian airport.

“We are in the final stages of documentation before the tendering process kicks off. The design of the airport where the first civilian plane is expected to takeoff is already complete,” Kenya Airports Authority MD Jonny Andersen said during a tour of the airstrip on Wednesday.

The airstrip, which is next to the Kenya Military Academy – about 10 km from Nakuru town will be upgraded in two phases in partnership with the county government.

“Under this arrangement, we shall convert the military facility into a public utility available for use by civilian aircraft,” Nakuru Governor Lee Kinyanjui said in an earlier interview.

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Phase one of the project will involve an upgrade of the Lanet Airstrip to international standards and construction of terminal buildings. Phase two will include an extension of phase one to allow the airport to accommodate larger aircraft.The upgrade will eventually enable flights to start and connect Nakuru to East Africa and the world.“Flower farmers, especially in Naivasha sub-county, will have a chance to exploit a huge market by increasing their exports to destinations such as Europe and the US,” said Mr. Kinyanjui.

The project, whose groundbreaking was scheduled for 2014, was to be located on 642 acres in the Pipeline area – about 15km from Nakuru town on the Nairobi-Nakuru highway. The county had proposed two other sites: Naivasha and Njoro. The latter was rejected due to poor terrain.