JKIA Closed for Over Nine Hours After Egyptair Plane Mishap
Kenya’s main airport - Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) that serves as the hub of the East African region was closed for over nine hours affecting dozens of flights scheduled for landing and take-off.
The airport resumed operations shortly before 1.00pm Kenyan time after being shut from 3.30am in the wee hours of the morning.
JKIA was thrown into trouble when an Egypt Air 849 flight that was landing veered-off the runway and got stuck midway in mud.
Efforts to remove the plane took long with experts teaming the scene to support rescue services. They later explained the delays on related bureaucracy of investigation processes that follow such aircraft accidents.
Observers blamed the delay and accused aviation authorities of taking too long to restore normal operations. The plane landed into mud.
A brief statement issued by Kenya Airports Authority said :”Further to the statement issued earlier today, this is to confirm that normal operations at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport resumed from 12.00 noon today after the obstacle was cleared from the runway.”
The plane had 123 passengers and 17 crew members on board when the accident happened.
JKIA CID officer Joseph Ngisa said all passengers were safely evacuated.
Kenya Airways issued a statement warning its passengers, customers of the challenges and the delays that followed.
“Kenya Airways would like to inform its passengers, customers and the public that Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has been closed indefinitely since 0400hrs today Wednesday June 6th 2012, due to a disabled aircraft on the runway.
All Kenya Airways morning arrivals have been diverted to Mombasa, Entebbe and Dar es Salam as below.” A statement from the airline said.
Flights diverted to Mombasa international airport includes, KQ311 from Dubai, KQ203 ex Mumbai, KQ101 ex London, KQ466 ex Bujumbura & Kigali, KQ331 ex Jeddah, KQ521 ex Dakar & Abidjan, KQ765 from Johannesburg.
Flights diverted to Entebbe international Airport in Uganda includes, KQ542 ex Lagos & Cotonou, KQ321 exCairo& Khartoum, KQ511 from Freetown &Accra and KQ117 from Amsterdam.
KQ 221 from New Delhi has been diverted to Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar Es Salam.
All departing flights from JKIA Nairobi have been delayed indefinitely.
Kenya Airways station offices in Entebbe, Mombasa and Dar es Salaam have arranged for special handling of passengers affected by the disruptions.
“We may also experience resultant delays and cancellations as a result this disruption and appeal to our affected passengers for understanding and patience during this period.” KQ said.
Meanwhile,stakeholders at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport are working to remove the grounded aircraft to ensure normal operations resume.
Source: The Standard