Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki has approved the 3bn-shilling expansion of Kisumu Airport in the hope of allowing more travellers to fly directly from the US and Europe to Africa.

The expansion will enable the airport to accommodate larger aircraft through the extension of its runway from 2km to 3.3km.

The project also includes a new terminal building, a modern apron, new access roads and a parking lot with a 1,500-vehicle capacity.

Completion of the upgrade will boost the airport’s standing to a fully fledged international airport. It will also benefit local fish traders and horticultural farmers, who will be able to directly transport their produce to global markets without paying additional transport costs in Nairobi.

The Kisumu project is part of the government’s airport infrastructure programme, which also includes a passenger terminal expansion at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and renovation work at Mombasa Airport and Wilson Airport.

The extension is expected to be complete in 22 months.