Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
|Airport type||Joint (Civil and Military)|
|Operator||Kenya Airports Authority|
|Elevation AMSL||1,624 m / 5,327 ft|
Latitude and longitude provided by Kenya Airports Authority
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA: NBO, ICAO: 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. The airport is named after Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president and prime minister. The airport served 6,348,635 passengers in 2014, making it the ninth-busiest airport in Africa by total passengers. It is the hub for flag carrier Kenya Airways, Jambojet, 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. 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.
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). 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. The airport was again renamed, this time in honour of President Kenyatta after his death on 22 August 1978.
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.
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. 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 not believed to be intentional, as no explosive devices were discovered during the initial investigation. According to Kenyan officials, firefighting efforts were hampered by some of the first responders choosing to loot the airport instead of fighting the blaze. International arrivals had been bused to a temporary facility set up in the ground floor of the new parkade until the reconstruction of the damaged areas. In June 2015, a new, fully functional, but temporary terminal building became operational. This terminal building is planned for a design life of 10 years, until completion of the planned new permanent facility.
There are two terminals. Terminal 1 is arranged in a semi-circular orientation and is divided into four parts: 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1E are used for international arrivals and departures while terminal 1D is used for domestic departures and arrivals. Terminal 2 is used by low cost carriers. 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.
The groundbreaking of a new passenger terminal dubbed the "Greenfield Terminal" with a capacity of 20 million passengers was held on 3 December 2013. The project included the construction of the single largest terminal in Africa and was to be completed in 2017. On March 25, 2016, Transport secretary James Macharia announced the project was cancelled, stating high costs as the main reason. Once complete, the terminal would have had 60 check-in positions, 32 air bridges and eight remote gates. Figures from KAA indicate that the airport's current terminal 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. It is as of yet unclear how the KAA plans to accommodate passenger growth.
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). An airport official has stated that the second runway will allow for continuous airport operations should an aircraft incident render the existing runway unusable. The runway also will enable direct long haul flights to destinations such as New York City, carrying up to 32 tonnes. Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2016 and be completed in December 2017.
Airlines and destinations
- African Express Airways has its head office on the airport property.
- The Kenya Airports Authority also has its head office at the airport.
The main entrance to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is on Airport South Road, which can be accessed by an exit from the A109 highway (Mombasa Road). Passengers can also travel to and from the airport via city Bus Route Number 34) or taxi. A suburban train service is also proposed.
Aircraft accidents and incidents
- 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 airplane was damaged beyond repair.
- 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 airplane was damaged beyond repair.
- 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.
- 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 was temporarily shut and all flights were diverted to Moi International Airport, Mombasa.
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Media related to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at Wikimedia Commons