Kenya to reopen main airport at midnight

Tents used for arrivals as planes from Bangkok and London land at Nairobi

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, as it goes up in flames, in Kenya’s capital Nairobi yesterday. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, as it goes up in flames, in Kenya’s capital Nairobi yesterday. Photograph: Stringer/Reuters

Thu, Aug 8, 2013, 13:27

Kenya said it would reopen its main airport at midnight tonight after a fire yesterday forced the suspension of international and cargo flights, choking a vital gateway to east Africa.

“The airport will be open for all other flights as from midnight on Thursday,” said Michael Kamau, cabinet secretary for transport, saying that so far the airport was only being used for international flights by Kenya Airways.

Flights from Bangkok and London arrived this morning in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on its Twitter feed. The civilian aviation authority gave clearance for some cargo and domestic flights carrying passengers to restart yesterday.

“JKIA Unit 3 terminal is now international departures,” the ministry said, referring to the facility’s domestic-flights unit. “Tents are set up at Unit 3’s other side to serve temporarily as international arrivals.”

The fire razed the arrivals terminal of the main airport, the fourth-busiest in sub-Saharan African, which is an important link for exporting tea, coffee and horticulture products and handling tourists, all of which are the biggest foreign-currency sources for Kenya.

Another “small” fire that broke at about 12:17 a.m. at the arrivals terminal was extinguished within 13 minutes, the ministry said. US President Barack Obama called his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, yesterday to offer support after the blaze, according to a statement on the U.S. Embassy in Kenya’s website.

Mr Obama also expressed his condolences on the 15th anniversary of twin coordinated attacks by al-Qaeda on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which more than 224 people died.

Cause Investigated Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire and “there is no reason to speculate at this point,” presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu said yesterday. Kenya resumed international flights at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after fire engulfed the arrivals terminals yesterday and shut operations at the busiest air-transportation hub in East Africa.

Flights from Bangkok and London arrived this morning in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, the Interior Ministry said in a statement on its Twitter feed. The civilian aviation authority gave clearance for some cargo and domestic flights carrying passengers to restart yesterday.

“JKIA Unit 3 terminal is now international departures,” the ministry said, referring to the facility’s domestic-flights unit. “Tents are set up at Unit 3’s other side to serve temporarily as international arrivals.”

The fire razed the arrivals terminal of the main airport, the fourth-busiest in sub-Saharan African, which is an important link for exporting tea, coffee and horticulture products and handling tourists, all of which are the biggest foreign-currency sources for Kenya.

Another “small” fire that broke at about 12.17am at the arrivals terminal was extinguished within 13 minutes, the ministry said. US President Barack Obama called his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, yesterday to offer support after the blaze, according to a statement on the US Embassy in Kenya’s website.

Mr Obama also expressed his condolences on the 15th anniversary of twin coordinated attacks by al-Qaeda on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, in which more than 224 people died.

Cause Investigated Investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire and “there is no reason to speculate at this point,” presidential spokesman Manoah Esipisu said yesterday.

Kenya Airways , the country’s flagship carrier, said it has resumed a limited number of domestic flights, rerouted some international flights through the port city of Mombasa and plans to start flying to destinations abroad later today including Johannesburg, Mumbai, Dubai, Paris and London. Kenya is the world’s largest black-tea exporter and it supplies one third of the flowers traded in Europe.

The country’s wild game parks and Indian Ocean beaches draw almost 2 million tourists a year from countries including the UK and US.

The currency of East Africa’s largest economy reversed yesterday’s decline, advancing 0.2 percent to 87.26 per dollar by 9.21 am in Nairobi.

Bloomberg

Kenya Airways , the country’s flagship carrier, said it has resumed a limited number of domestic flights, rerouted some international flights through the port city of Mombasa and plans to start flying to destinations abroad later today including Johannesburg, Mumbai, Dubai, Paris and London. Kenya is the world’s largest black-tea exporter and it supplies one third of the flowers traded in Europe.

The country’s wild game parks and Indian Ocean beaches draw almost 2 million tourists a year from countries including the UK and US.

The currency of East Africa’s largest economy reversed yesterday’s decline, advancing 0.2 percent to 87.26 per dollar by 9.21 a.m. in Nairobi.

Bloomberg