The Ukunda airstrip has been renamed Diani National Airport, in a move aimed at boosting tourism.
The government is also planning to expand the airport in order to attract bigger airlines. Last month, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) commissioned its first modern Sh150 million control tower for safer flight operations at the Ukunda airstrip.
KCAA director-general Gilbert Kibe said the investment is the product of increased flights at Ukunda airstrip, which supports travel to the famous tourist hotspot in Diani, Kwale County and will go along way in enhancing safety at the airport.
“We are investing in the safety, security and efficiency of the aviation sector. This mobile tower will mitigate against service disruptions, incidents or treats within the air space,” said Mr Kibe.
Ukunda reported 300 flight movements since December with 52 aircraft arrivals and departures captured on January 2.
According to the director of public communication in the Tourism ministry, Mulei Muia, Diani is a brand recognized internationally and the renaming of the airport will attract more charter flights in the South Coast region.
“Its significance is basically to attract more tourists to Diani, and hence open up the tourists resort town to big charter flights into South Coast. That is going to be a big boost for the tourism sector,” Mr Muia said.
The renaming of the Ukunda airstrip will officially take effect on April 25,
Diani Beach in Kenya’s South Coast has been named Africa’s Leading Beach Destination at the World Travel Awards for Five years in a row.
The Ukunda airstrip in Kwale County serves tourists flying to Diani, Tiwi and Msambweni.