August 8, 2013

KENYA: Flights resume at JKIA after fire

International flights have resumed at the main airport of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, a day after a devastating fire gutted the arrivals terminal.
The remains of the international arrivals lounge on August 8, 2013 in the aftermath of an inferno at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.
The remains of the international arrivals lounge on August 8, 2013 in the aftermath of an inferno at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi.

Fire broke out at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Wednesday morning, forcing the cancellation or diversion of flights at East Africa’s largest airport.

On Thursday, flights from London, Bangkok and Kilimanjaro landed safely at the Nairobi airport. The airport officials used the domestic terminal for passengers instead of the international hall damaged in the incident.

The cause of the fire is not yet revealed, with Kenyan officials having reported no serious injuries.

The fire erupted in the international arrivals and immigration area of the airport at about 05:00 am local time (02:00 GMT) and spread quickly.

It took firefighters about four hours to bring the fire under control, during which the arrivals hall was gutted.

Kenyan media criticized the slow response to the fire, saying the airport needs major building work to return to normal.

The Standard newspaper said that the emergency services were caught unprepared and described the delay in overcoming the fire as “inexcusable.”

The Star daily also warned that the fire may cause a “lack of trust and confidence” in the future.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport serves as a regional hub for East Africa, with many long-distance international flights arriving at and departing from the airport. Official figures say about 16,000 passengers transit through the airport each day.

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