Ukunda airstrip hosts first ever mobile control tower in Africa

The Mobile control tower launched by Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) to provide air navigation services at Ukunda Airstrip in Kwale county PHOTO COURTESY

Kwale, KENYA: The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) has commissioned the first ever modern mobile control tower in Africa for purposes of providing air navigation services to all flights arriving and departing at Ukunda Airstrip.

Addressing media on Wednesday at Ukunda in Kwale county, KCAA Director General Captain Gilbert Kibe said the tower which cost a total of Sh. 150 million will help deal with the increase in air traffic demand as well as secure the aircraft operations in the Kenyan airspace.
“We are investing in the safety, security, and efficiency of the aviation sector. This mobile tower will mitigate against service disruptions, incidents or threats within the Kenyan air space,” said Capt. Kibe.
He implied that they resorted to having the mobile control tower set up at Ukunda Airstrip following an increase in the number of flights operating at the Airstrip.
“Ukunda’s airfield has been experiencing density of traffic at peak hours at times with traffic numbers exceeding those for other major airports in Kenya,” said Capt. Kibe.
He said that the facility will boost the airspace operations as they will be able to monitor the air traffic services and ensure effective controller-pilot communication from within other Airstrips.
He confirmed that Ukunda Airstrip will now upgrade to an Airport after the installation of a mobile control tower fully equipped with air traffic management systems.
However, he noted that Ukunda Airstrip will be expanded to allow bigger aircraft to land and take off at the Airstrip.
“Kenya Airport Authority KAA has plans to lengthen the runway from 1.2km to a stretch of 1.8km, construct a larger terminal facility and fence the Airstrip to enhance security,” added Capt. Kibe.
At the same time, Ukunda Airstrip Manager Ali Godana said the mobile tower will help to separate aircraft in the airspace, especially between Ukunda and Mombasa circuit.