Operations resume at JKIA

International and domestic flights resumed yesterday at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, a day after the operations had been halted over a fire gutted the arrival terminal of the region’s busiest airport.
An early Wednesday morning fire at the arrivals terminal at JKIA.  The New Times, File
An early Wednesday morning fire at the arrivals terminal at JKIA. The New Times, File

International and domestic flights resumed yesterday at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, a day after the operations had been halted over a fire gutted the arrival terminal of the region’s busiest airport.

The closure left thousands of passengers, especially at regional airports, stranded, forcing some to postpone their travels.

In Rwanda, about 300 people were affected while at Entebbe Airport in Uganda over 500 travelers, mostly destined to Europe, were affected as they could not catch their connecting flights from Nairobi.

At Kigali International Airport, flights to JKIA resumed with only Kenya Airways (KQ), the Kenyan national airliner, because of the shortage of space, as the airport is partially operational.

“The operations have resumed but partially; we have a flight today at 2 o’clock (yesterday) and we expect more as the situation continues to improve,” a lady on duty at KQ offices who preferred anonymity said earlier yesterday.

RwandAir could not resume normal flights due to lack of parking space at JKIA but officials remained optimistic.

“We have been given a go -ahead and we are flying 74 passengers and then come back with full capacity but this is only today (yesterday),” Robert Nsinga, Acting Senior Manager, Marketing, RwandAir said in interview last evening.

He said he was still optimistic they will resume operations at full capacity.

The national carrier had earlier been denied to fly to Nairobi due to lack of enough parking at the airport.

There are at least nine flights between Kigali and Nairobi, and all these are mainly operated by the RwandaAir and KQ.

According to Kenya Airport authority the Unit 2 departures had been cleared for international departures.

In a statement by the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Transport and Infrastructure, Eng Michael Kamau, assured travelers that his government was busy trying to find a solution for the problem.

Continued Safety briefings

“We want to reassure international and local passengers that while they may experience some level of discomfort and delays during travel, the government of Kenya and Kenya Airport Authority  is working with all the stakeholders to ensure their safety and security, while restoring normal operations as soon as possible.”

He added that Kenya Airport Authority (KAA) safety marshals will continue to carry out safety briefings for airport workers to ensure international safety and security standards.

He announced that they expected more KQ flights to Amsterdam, Kinshasa, Entebbe, Dar-es-Salaam, Kigali, Bujumbura, Bombay, London, Dubai, Johannesburg, Paris and Bangkok to go out later yesterday.

“We advise all passengers to liaise with their respective airlines and confirm their flight schedules before coming to Jomo Kenyatta Airport,” KAA wrote on their Tweeter handle.

JKIA is the busiest airport in both East and Central Africa and has direct flight connections to Europe, the Middle East, Far East and across the African continent, serving over 5 million passengers annually. The airport is served by 49 airlines.

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