The Rise of Eldoret International Airport

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January 25, 2017

Statistics indicate that the Eldoret International Airport is on a steady rise as a cargo hub in mid-western Kenya.

This has come as a result of the reintroduction of direct cargo flights in 2011 after a brief stoppage in 2007 due to low incoming and outgoing freight volumes.

Most of the goods that land in this airport are from individuals and enterprises shopping from the Middle East and Dubai.

The target destination for these goods is ordinarily the western Kenya marketplace.

Cargo at Eldoret Airport

(Cargo handled at Eldoret Airport.) Photo by

The airport is preferred by goods importers because of the faster speed of clearance as compared to other airports in the region.

This efficiency of clearance is attributable to the relative lower volumes of goods at the Eldoret International Airport.

The Eldoret Airport is located around 18 kilometres away from Eldoret town center along the Eldoret-Kisumu road.

The airport has a single asphalt runway that extends for approximately 3,475 meters (11,401 ft.) in length.

It was established in 1995 and commenced operations shortly thereafter. 

The airport is open for operations all days of the week from 0330hours to 1730hours GMT. These hours can be extended upon request.

Currently the airport has three scheduled international cargo flights and several freight landings as necessary per week.

Data from the Kenya Airports Authority indicates that freight movements at the airport increased to 1,028,506 million kilograms in December 2016 as compared to 981,258 kilograms in the same period the previous year. This represents a 4.8% increase.

In comparison, the JKIA saw a drop of 8.2% and cargo volumes at the Wilson Airport dropped by 5.3%. This is an indicator that the Eldoret Airport is on a significant growing trend for importers of goods.

Freight volumes statistics December 2016. Source Kenya Airports Authority.

Freight volumes statistics December 2016. Source Kenya Airports Authority.


When your goods land at this airport, the Taxman will be waiting for you, as per Kenyan law.

For purposes of customs and border control the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has instituted a raft of measures to enhance security and to seal revenue loopholes.

Clearance documents for the imports through the airport include an obligatory packing list that indicates the name of the importer or the owner of the freight.

This is accompanied by the PIN, an identification document such as passport or national ID, phone contact and physical address.

Other requisite details are a description of goods where the importer should indicate the volumes, values and nature of goods.

In addition, public and importers are required to obtain a Certificates of Conformity (CoC) issued by an authorised Inspection Agent at the point of origin prior to shipment.

This applies to all Imports. Presentation of Certificates of Conformity is a mandatory requirement to facilitate clearance of imports by both KRA and Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS).

Recall also that in a previous blog post, we tackled the new insurance regulations for imports.

These details are also required for importers who contract the services of cargo consolidators to ship their goods.

It is advisable to give your consolidator this information in good time before the arrival of your cargo in order to enhance quick clearance.

Although the Eldoret airport is located by a small road at a considerable distance away from the center of town, it is ranked fourth in terms of general size among airports in Kenya.

With a 3-kilometer-long runway and its trademark chain-link fence along the perimeter, it could certainly do with a facelift.

That notwithstanding, the Eldoret International Airport remains a significant nucleus in the Western region for goods importers in the region.


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