The Kenya Airports Authority is an autonomous body established in 1991 through an Act of Parliament and is charged with an umbrella responsibility of providing and managing a coordinated system of airports in the country.
Prior to its formation, the former erstwhile Aerodromes Department under the Ministry of Transport and Communication handled this responsibility. Erstwhile was in charge of then Nairobi’s Old Embakasi Airport which was constructed in the mid-1950 to serve the first generation Boeing 707/DC8 aircraft; Nairobi Embakasi Airport was opened in May 1958, by the last colonial Governor of Kenya, Sir Evelyn Baring, although the airport was due to be opened by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother was delayed in Australia and could not make the ceremony. Nairobi Embakasi Airport was then closed on March 14, 1978 and paved way to the current Jomo Kenyattta International Airport.
Contrary to beliefs, Nairobi Airport was not the 1st airport in Kenya. Wilson Airport, which is one of the regions busiest domestic aerodrome traces its roots back to to the 1st World War. commercial routes were pioneered by Imperial Airways and its successor BOAC in the 1920’s and in July 1929, Wilson Airways Ltd was formed by Mrs. Florrie Wilson to operate from an airfield in Nairobi, at Dagoretti Corner. Later, that year the airfield at Dagoretti Corner was abandoned in favour of the present site of WAP, originally called Nairobi Aerodrome.
Out of the Second World War emerged Mombasa and Kisumu airports which were developed mainly for military use. Mombasa had two runways, a short one supported by a along one which stretched 1.5 km, capable of serving DC and similar aircrafts, while Kisumu was set up strategically to support amphibian type of aircraft landing in the neighbouring Lake Victoria. the airports have since been upgraded to international status.
In its brief period of existence, Kenya Airports Authority has undergone tremendous structural changes intended to make the organization a result-driven and customer focused establishment. Currently, the Authority is undertaking major projects to improve existing aerodromes in the country as well as build new ones to cater for growth in key sectors of the economy such as tourism, horticulture, and trade.