Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

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Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Kenya Airports Authority logo.png
Kenya Airports Authority logo
Airport type Joint (Civil and Military)
Operator Kenya Airports Authority
Serves Nairobi
Location Nairobi, Kenya
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 5,327 ft / 1,624 m
Coordinates 01°19′07″S 36°55′33″E / 1.31861°S 36.92583°E / -1.31861; 36.92583Coordinates: 01°19′07″S 36°55′33″E / 1.31861°S 36.92583°E / -1.31861; 36.92583
NBO is located in Kenya
Location within Kenya
Direction Length Surface
ft m
06/24 13,507 4,117 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Passengers 5,803,635[1]
Latitude and longitude provided by Kenya Airports Authority

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA: NBOICAO: HKJK) is an international airport in Nairobi, the capital of and largest city in Kenya. Located in the Embakasi suburb 15 kilometres (9 mi) southeast of Nairobi's central business district, the airport has scheduled flights to destinations in over 50 countries.[2] The airport is named after Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president and prime minister.

The airport served 5,803,635 passengers in 2011,[1] making it the ninth-busiest airport in Africa by total passengers. It is the hub for flag carrier Kenya Airways, as well as Fly540 and African Express Airways.


On 9 March 1958, Embakasi Airport was opened by the last colonial governor of Kenya, Sir Evelyn Baring.[3] The airport was due to be opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; however, she was delayed in Australia and could not make the ceremony.[4]

After Kenya's independence in 1964, the airport was renamed Nairobi International Airport to more accurately reflect the city it served.[citation needed] In 1972, the World Bank approved funds for further expansion of the airport, including a new terminal building, the airport's first dedicated cargo terminal, new taxiways, police and fire stations, and the building of the main access road to the airport (Airport South Road). The total cost of the project was over US$29 million (US$111.8 million in 2013 dollars).[5] On 14 March 1978, construction of the current terminal building was completed on the other side of the airport's single runway and opened by President Kenyatta.[6] The airport was again renamed, this time in honour of President Kenyatta after his death on 22 August 1978.[citation needed]

On 5 August 2013, an airlock in the main pipeline that delivers jet fuel to the airport caused all inbound flights to the airport to be diverted to other airfields. Approximately 1,000 passengers were placed in overnight accommodations, and the fault was fixed the next morning.[7]

2013 fire[edit]

Main article: Nairobi airport fire

On 7 August 2013, a fire originating in the immigration area caused massive damage to the airport and forced it to suspend operations temporarily. Unit 3, usually dedicated to domestic operations, was used temporarily for international traffic.[8] The worst fire in the airport's history occurred on the fifteenth anniversary of the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, but no connection was immediately obvious and no terrorist group has claimed responsibility. The cause is under investigation.[9][10] According to Kenyan officials, firefighting efforts were hampered by some of the first responders choosing to loot the airport instead of fighting the blaze.[11]

International arrivals are bused to a temporary facility set up in the ground floor of the new parkade.


A Section of Terminal 1A

The main entrance to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is on Airport South Road, which can be accessed by an exit from the A109 expressway (Mombasa Road).

The original terminal, located on the north side of the runway, is used by the Kenya Air Force and is sometimes referred as Old Embakasi Airport.[12]

The current terminal building is arranged in a semi-circular orientation and is divided into three parts: 1A, 1B, 1C,1D and 1E used for international arrivals and departures.[13]

Greenfield Terminal[edit]

The groundbreaking of a new passenger terminal dubbed the "Greenfield Terminal" with a capacity of 20 million passengers was held on 3 December 2013. It is set to be the single largest terminal in Africa and is to be completed in 2016.[14] The estimated cost is 55 billion Kenyan shillings (US$654 million).[15]

The architects for the terminal were Pascall+Watson, a London based firm that also designed Heathrow Terminal 5 and Dublin Airport Terminal 2. Construction of the new terminal will be done by Anhui Civil Engineering Group and China Aero Technology Engineering International Engineering Corporation (CATIC). The project supervisor is the Louis Berger Group.

Once complete, the terminal will have 60 check-in positions, 32 air bridges and eight remote gates. The terminal is also expected to have an automated baggage handling commercial retail centre. It will also have a commuter railway station and enable alliances i.e. SkyTeam to use a single terminal. It will also have a capacity to handle traffic of 3,133 international passengers in a typical peak hour; 2,403 transiting passengers in a typical peak hour and 845 domestic passengers in a typical peak hour. Figures from KAA indicate that the airport, which has a capacity of 2.5 million passengers but handles an average of 6.5 million passengers every year.

Traffic at the airport grows at a rate of 12 percent per annum and is expected to hit the 25 million mark by 2025.

Second Runway[edit]

A new instrument landing system-equipped runway 5,500 metres (18,000 ft) in length has been approved for construction at a cost of 12.8 billion Kenyan shillings (US$146.5 million).[16] An airport official has stated that the second runway will allow for continuous airport operations should an aircraft incident render the existing runway unusable.[17] The runway also will enable direct long haul flights to destinations such as New York City, carrying up to 32 tonnes.[16] Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2016 and be completed in December 2017.[18]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Emirates Airbus A340-500 taxiing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
RwandAir Boeing 737-500 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Kenya Airways Boeing 737-300 taxiing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Fly540 Bombardier CRJ-100 taxiing at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
East African Safari Air McDonnell Douglas DC-9-14 at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Kenya Airways Boeing 777-200ER at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Kenya Airways' Planes at JKIA


Countries served by flights from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (includes seasonal and future destinations).
Airlines Destinations
African Express Airways Berbera, Dubai-International, Galkayo, Hargeisa, Mogadishu, Sharjah[19]
Air Arabia Sharjah[20]
Air Mauritius Mauritius[21]
British Airways London-Heathrow[22]
Brussels Airlines Brussels, Bujumbura[23]
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou (begins 5 August 2015)[24]
Condor Frankfurt[25]
Daallo Airlines Mogadishu[26]
EgyptAir Cairo[27]
Emirates Dubai-International[28]
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa[29]
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi[30]
Fly SAX Entebbe, Hargeisa, Mogadishu, Mombasa, Moroni[31]
Fly540 Eldoret, Juba, Kisumu, Malindi, Mombasa, Zanzibar[32]
Jambo Jet Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa
Jubba Airways Djibouti, Dubai-International, Hargeisa, Mogadishu[33]
Kenya Airways Abidjan, Abuja,[34] Accra, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Antananarivo, Bamako, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Douala, Dubai-International, Dzaoudzi, Entebbe, Freetown (suspended),[35] Gaborone, Guangzhou, Hanoi,[36] Harare, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Johannesburg-OR Tambo, Juba, Khartoum, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Kinshasa-N'djili, Kisumu, Lagos, Lilongwe, Livingstone, London-Heathrow, Luanda, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Mahé, Malindi, Maputo, Mombasa, Monrovia (suspended),[35] Mumbai, Nampula, Ndola, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Tel Aviv-Ben Gurion (begins 1 June 2015),[37] Yaoundé, Zanzibar[38]
KLM Amsterdam[39]
LAM Mozambique Airlines Maputo, Nampula[40][41]
Precision Air Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar[42]
Qatar Airways Doha[43]
RwandAir Entebbe,[44] Kigali[45]
Saudia Jeddah[46]
South African Airways Johannesburg-OR Tambo
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich[47]
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk[48]
Yemenia Sana'a[49]

Sky Aero launched flights to Kisumu and Mombasa in May, 2014[50] but ceased operations a few months later.[51]


Airlines Destinations
Air France Cargo Paris-Charles de Gaulle[52]
Astral Aviation Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Juba, Kigali, Mogadishu, Mwanza[53]
Cargolux Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Maastricht/Aachen[54]
EgyptAir Cargo Cairo[55]
Emirates SkyCargo Amsterdam, Dubai-Al Maktoum[56]
Etihad Crystal Cargo Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam[57]
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Johannesburg-OR Tambo[58][59]
Martinair Cargo Amsterdam, Johannesburg-OR Tambo[60]
Qatar Airways Cargo Brussels
Saudia Cargo Amsterdam, Jeddah[61][62]
Singapore Airlines Cargo Amsterdam[63]
Turkish Airlines Cargo Entebbe, Istanbul-Ataturk, Khartoum[48]

Other facilities[edit]

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority has its head office in the KAA Complex on the airport property.[citation needed] African Express Airways has its head office on the airport property.[64] The Kenya Airports Authority also has its head office at the airport.[65]

Aircraft accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 20 November 1974, Lufthansa Flight 540, a Lufthansa Boeing 747–130, D-ABYB, LH 540, "Hessen" (German state), delivered 1970, crashed on take off from runway 24 in Nairobi killing 59 of the 157 on board. The aircraft was on a flight from Frankfurt to Nairobi and onwards to Johannesburg. This was the first fatal accident and third hull loss of a Boeing 747.
  • On 17 May 1989, a Boeing 707-330B operated by Somali Airlines aborted takeoff and then overran the wet runway and crashed into a rice field. The plane had 70 passengers and crew on board, but no fatalities resulted. The aeroplane was damaged beyond repair.[66]
  • On 4 December 1990, a Boeing 707-321C freighter operated by Sudania Air Cargo struck an electricity pole 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) short of runway 06 and crashed in flames. Visibility was 500 metres (1,600 ft) in fog with a 30 metres (98 ft) cloud base. All 10 persons on board died. The aeroplane was damaged beyond repair.[67]
  • On 6 June 2012, EgyptAir Flight 849, an Airbus A320, blew a tire while landing and veered off runway 06. Portions of the aircraft obstructed the runway, necessitating closure of the airport. Inbound flights were diverted to other airports in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. None of the 123 passengers and crew was injured.[68]
  • On 4 January 2015 a Fokker 50 carrying 6 people crashed landed after a landing gear failure. Of the 6 on board, no injuries are reported. Jomo Kenyatta Airport is temporarily shut and all flights were diverted to Moi International Airport, Mombasa.


  1. ^ a b "Africa's Top 17 Busiest Airports (2011)". Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  2. ^ "Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO) flight index". Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "Nairobi's New Airport". Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Nairobi Embakasi"
  5. ^ "Nairobi Airport Project". The World Bank. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  6. ^ may not-be-ready-unt "ETurboNews". 15 November 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "KENYA: Mass delays at Nairobi JKIA after pipeline fault starves airport of Jet A1", The African Aviation Tribune, 6 August 2013
  8. ^ "Kenya scrambles to limit economic fallout from massive airport fire", Los Angeles Times, reported by Nicholas Soi and Robyn Dixon, 7 August 2013
  9. ^ "Blaze Damages Nairobi’s International Airport," New York Times, reported by Reuben Kyama and Nicola Clark, 7 August 2013
  10. ^ "Fire guts Kenya's main airport, chokes regional gateway", Reuters, reported by Drazen Jorgic, 7 August 2013
  11. ^ "First responders looted Nairobi airport banks, shops while building burned", Associated Press, reported by Jason Straziuso and Tom Odula, published in The Globe and Mail, 8 August 2013
  12. ^ "The Creation of an African Aviation Epicenter",, reported by Denis Maina Gathanju, 1 May 2004
  13. ^ "Facts and Figures – Nairobi", Kenya Airports Authority, 9 December 2012
  14. ^ "The President launches construction of new JKIA terminal". Capital FM. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  15. ^ "Construction of new airport terminal to start on Tuesday". BusinessDaily. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014. 
  16. ^ a b "Work on second JKIA runway to begin next year". Standard Digital. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 
  17. ^ "KENYA: Construction of Nairobi JKIA's second runway to start in November", The African Aviation Tribune, 16 July 2013
  18. ^ "JKIA Expansion and Modernisation". Government of Kenya. Retrieved 12 August 2013. 
  19. ^ Summer 2014 timetable,
  20. ^ "Air Arabia (G9) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  21. ^ "Air Mauritius (MK) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  22. ^ "British Airways (BA) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  23. ^ "Brussels Airlines (SN) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  24. ^ "China Southern Adds Guangzhou – Nairobi Service from August 2015". March 3, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Condor Flugdienst (DE) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 30 September 2013
  26. ^ "Daallo Airlines (D3) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  27. ^ "EgyptAir (MS) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  28. ^ "Emirates (EK) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  29. ^ "Ethiopian Airlines (ET) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  30. ^ "Etihad (EY) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  31. ^ Flight search on Fly SAX website, 14 May 2014,
  32. ^ "Fly540 (5H) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  33. ^ Jubba Airways Flight Schedule Nairobi, Jubba Airways, accessed 30 April 2014
  34. ^
  35. ^ a b
  36. ^ "Kenya Airways Adds Hanoi; Replacing Guangzhou Nonstop Service from late-March 2015". Airline Route. 29 January 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2015. 
  37. ^
  38. ^ "Kenya Airways to Resume Zanzibar Service from June 2014". Airline Route. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014. 
  39. ^ "KLM (KL) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  40. ^ "LAM (TM) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  41. ^ Korean Air suspends temporary Nairobi service to December 2014
  42. ^ "Precision Air Services (PW) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  43. ^ "Qatar Airways (QR) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  44. ^
  45. ^ "RwandAir (WB) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  46. ^ "Saudi Airlines (SV) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  47. ^ "SWISS (LX) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  48. ^ a b "Turkish Airlines (TK) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 9 August 2013
  49. ^ "Yemen Airways (IY) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 10 August 2013
  50. ^ "Kenyan start-up, SkyAero, begins Kisumu flights". 
  51. ^ "Ex-Skyaero staff distracted". 
  52. ^ "Air France (AF) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 9 August 2013
  53. ^ "Astral Aviation (8V) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 9 August 2013
  54. ^ "Cargolux (CV) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 9 August 2013
  55. ^ EgyptAir Cargo
  56. ^ "Emirates SkyCargo Freighter Operations get ready for DWC move". Emirates SkyCargo. 2 April 2014. 
  57. ^ Etihad Crystal Cargo Schedule
  58. ^ LCAG Flight Schedule XLS, Lufthansa Cargo, 9 August 2013
  59. ^ "Lufthansa (LH) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 9 August 2013
  60. ^ "Martinair (MP) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 9 August 2013
  61. ^ 2013 Summer Freighter Schedule effective 01 Aug 13 – Africa & MENAT, Saudia Cargo, 1 August 2013
  62. ^ "Saudia Cargo adds Amsterdam and Nairobi to network". Air Cargo News. 1 December 2012. 
  63. ^ "Singapore Airlines (SQ) flights from Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO)",, accessed 9 August 2013
  64. ^ "AFRICAN EXPRESS AIRWAYS CONTACTS", African Express Airways, accessed 13 August 2013
  65. ^ "Terms of Use." Kenya Airports Authority. Retrieved on 26 May 2011. "Kenya Airports Authority is a company registered in Kenya, whose registered office is at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya."
  66. ^ Accident description, Aviation Safety Network, 17 May 1989
  67. ^ "Accident Description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 8 August 2013. 
  68. ^ "Kenya Reopens Nairobi Airport After EgyptAir Plane Removed". Bloomberg Businessweek. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2013. 

External links[edit]