Wilson Airport

Coordinates: 1°19′12″S 36°48′54″E / 1.320000°S 36.815000°E / -1.320000; 36.815000
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Wilson Airport
Aerial view of Wilson Airport
Airport typePublic
OwnerKenya Airports Authority
LocationLang'ata, Nairobi, Kenya
Opened1929; 95 years ago (1929)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL1,690 m / 5,546 ft
Coordinates01°19′12″S 36°48′54″E / 1.32000°S 36.81500°E / -1.32000; 36.81500 (Wilson Airport)
WIL is located in Kenya
Location of Wilson Airport in Kenya
Placement on map is approximate
Direction Length Surface
m ft
07/25 1,463 4,798 Asphalt
14/32 1,560 5,052 Asphalt
Statistics (2017)
Passenger numbers528,000[1]

Wilson Airport (IATA: WIL, ICAO: HKNW) is an airport in Nairobi, Kenya. It has flights to many regional airports in Kenya while Nairobi's main airport, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, serves domestic and many international destinations.


Wilson Airport, is in Nairobi County, in the city of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya and the largest metropolitan centre in that country. It lies approximately 4 kilometres (2.5 mi), by road, south of the central business district.[2] Nearby suburbs include Langata, South C, and Kibera.

This location is approximately 18 kilometres (11 mi), by road, west of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the largest civilian airport in the country.[3]


The airport serves domestic and international traffic. It is used mostly by general aviation traffic. Industries that use Wilson Airport extensively include tourism, health care and agriculture. Wilson Airport averages traffic of around 120,000 landings and take-offs annually.

Airkenya and other small airlines use Wilson Airport for scheduled domestic passenger services, instead of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Missionary aviation operators AMREF, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) and AIM AIR use Wilson Airport as their airport base on the African continent. It is used also for flight training. The airport is under the supervision of Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).

De Havilland Chipmunk trainers of the Kenya Air Force at Wilson Aerodrome in April 1973

As a result of faster check-in times and fewer flight delays, as compared to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Wilson Airport is commonly used by business executive aircraft for domestic and international travel. Common domestic destinations from Wilson Airport include Kisumu Airport, Mombasa International Airport and Eldoret International Airport.

At 5,546 feet (1,690 m) above sea level,[4] Wilson Airport has two asphalt runways: Runway 1 (heading 07/25) measures 4,798 feet (1,462 m) long and 72 feet (22 m) wide; Runway 2 (heading 14/32) measures 5,052 feet (1,540 m) long and 76 feet (23 m) wide.[5]


The airport was established as Nairobi West Aerodrome in 1929 by Florence Kerr Wilson, a wealthy widow. Built at a cost of £50,000 (£3.2 million in 2020), Mrs Wilson hired pilot Tom Campbell Black to run the airport. After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, the airport, its aircraft fleet and its pilots were taken over by the then colonial government and made a Royal Air Force base until after the war when it continued functioning as a civilian airport. In 1962, it was named Wilson Airport in honour of its founder who died in 1968.[6]

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Airkenya Express Amboseli, Kilimanjaro, Lamu, Lewa Downs, Maasai Mara, Malindi, Meru, Nanyuki, Samburu, Ukunda/Diani Beach
Fly Tristar Eldoret, Lodwar, Malindi, Mombasa, Ukunda/Diani Beach
Renegade Air Kisumu
Safarilink Amboseli, Kilaguni, Kilimanjaro, Kiwayu, Lamu, Lewa Downs, Maasai Mara, Mombasa, Naivasha, Nanyuki, Samburu, Ukunda/Diani Beach, Zanzibar
Skyward Express Eldoret, Kakamega, Kitale, Lamu, Lodwar, Malindi, Mombasa, Ukunda/Diani Beach

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 24 December 1968, a Douglas C-47A 5Y-ADI of the Kenya Police Air Wing crashed shortly after takeoff. The incident was attributed to inadequately secured cargo. All three people on board were killed.[7]
  • On 11 October 2019, a Silverstone Air Services Fokker 50 registration 5Y-IZO operating flight 620 to Mombasa, Kenya, overran the runway on takeoff from Wilson. The aircraft was extensively damaged but there were no fatalities.[8]
  • On 5 March 2024, a Safarilink Aviation de Havilland Dash 8-300, registration 5Y-SLK, shortly after takeoff from Wilson collided with a Cessna 172, registration 5Y-NNJ, operated by a local flying school. The Cessna crashed and the two occupants were killed. The Dash 8 had minor damage and landed back at Wilson with no casualties.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "KAA to rehabilitate Wilson Airport – People Daily". 29 November 2019.
  2. ^ "Distance between , and Hilton Nairobi (Nairobi Area) (Kenya)". distancecalculator.globefeed.com. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Distance between Nairobi / Wilson () (Airport) and Jomo Kenyatta Airport Nairobi (Nairobi Area) (Kenya)". distancecalculator.globefeed.com. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Nairobi Wilson Airport, Nairobi Kenya Flights, WIL, Wilson Airport". airgorilla.com. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  5. ^ Charter, International Air. "Nairobi Wilson Airport, Kenya". internationalaircharter.com. Retrieved 21 August 2018.
  6. ^ "How woman's one-plane venture grew into modern Wilson Airport – Business Daily". 25 December 2020.
  7. ^ "5Y-ADI Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  8. ^ "Accident: Silverstone F50 at Nairobi on Oct 11th 2019, overran runway on rejected takeoff". AVHerald. Retrieved 12 October 2019.
  9. ^ "Accident: Safarilink DH8C at Nairobi on Mar 5th 2024, midair collision with light aircraft". The Aviation Herald. 5 March 2024.

External links[edit]

1°19′12″S 36°48′54″E / 1.320000°S 36.815000°E / -1.320000; 36.815000