BELLY LANDING PROMPTS CLOSURE OF EAST AFRICA’S KEY AIRPORT ON SUNDAY
(Posted 27th November 2016)
The bodged landing of an incoming aircraft from Somalia with just handful of passengers on board, at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport earlier in the afternoon again prompted a closure of Kenya’s main aviation hub and flight diversions of incoming services to alternate airports in the region. No flights were allowed to leave Nairobi either as a result.
One of the last flights to be affected by the closure was the British Airways service BA 065 from London to Nairobi, which ended up in Entebbe with passengers scratching their heads when and how they will reach their final destination.
The aircraft involved in the incident was a Beech 1900 registered in Kenya as 5Y-BSI, reportedly operated by Reliance Charters, MSN UC172 and first flown in October 1991. Added information sourced suggests that the owner may be the SPLA of South Sudan.
New Kenya Airport Authority CEO Jonny Anderson will on Monday morning probably take a fresh look at the need to construct a second runway for JKIA more or less immediately. This is something demanded by airlines for over a decade now but delayed repeatedly, last when the Kenyan government – after a high profile project launch a year earlier – suddenly decided to can ‘Project Greenfield‘ which included a second runway and is now engaged in a legal tussle with the Chinese contractors.
‘Air operators are royally p***** off to tell the truth that another incident led to another closure of Nairobi JKIA. I don’t think the bureaucrats understand how important that second runway really is and how expensive re-routings are. When crews on those diverted aircraft run out of maximum duty hours it can mean an aircraft has to sit for instance in Entebbe overnight and inbound, connecting and outbound passengers are left stranded for even twice as long before they can be rebooked to their final destination. We need this second runway in Nairobi like yesterday, much more than a railway through the Nairobi National Park. I am just mad again that one of our flights is sitting somewhere instead of doing a turnaround here in Nairobi‘ ranted a regular contributor from Nairobi when discussing the issue earlier in the evening.
Flight operations have only just resumed according to the latest information received from JKIA.