Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Domestic flights resume after JKIA inferno

President Kenyatta and senior government officials at the scene of the dawn inferno at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The President said domestic flights would resume August 7, 2013 in the afternoon. ZADOCK ANGIRA

President Kenyatta and senior government officials at the scene of the dawn inferno at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The President said domestic flights would resume August 7, 2013 in the afternoon. ZADOCK ANGIRA  

By ANTHONY KARIUKI

Domestic flights have resumed after a dawn fire led to the closure of Kenya's main airport.

A Kenya Airways statement said flights on the Nairobi-Mombasa route would depart Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) from 7pm.

"The first flight out of Nairobi to Mombasa is expected to depart at 7.00pm. Another flight out of Mombasa to Nairobi will depart at 9.15 pm," said Kenya Airways chief executive Titus Naikuni.

"All affected customers will however be advised accordingly and should be at the airport two hours before departure time. The domestic departure terminal is in use and will be open to handle these flights," he said.

Earlier, State House spokesman Manoah Esipisu had said cargo flights would also resume but said the government was not in a position to give a clear timetable on international services.

"We expect cargo and domestic services to resume from this airport this afternoon. They will operate from the Cargo terminal," Mr Esipisu told reporters at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi flanked by Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau.

Mr Esipisu said the government was assessing the damage at JKIA and would advice, in due course, when international flights will resume.

"A time-frame for the resumption of international flights will be relayed later. However, the Kenya Civil Aviation has granted clearance for the use of Unit 3 for international departures and arrivals," said Mr Esipisu.

He said President Kenyatta was "dismayed by the disruption and damage caused by the fire" and the inconvenience caused to passengers and tourists.

"We are concerned that the incident interrupted travellers schedules and appreciate that they are being routed to their destinations as soon as is possible."

Mr Esipisu said the government was working round the clock to normalise operations at the airport.

"President Kenyatta wishes to reassure the entire aviation industry, investors, local and international travellers that everything is being done to resume normal operations," he said.

"We want to guarantee the safety and security of all passengers, and that is our most important consideration at this time. Helplines have been set up where those who wish to get further information," he said.

Fly 540 announced that three flights were on schedule.

"To enable as many passengers as possible to reach their destinations, we are combining flights 439 and 461 and 403 and 409," said the airline in a statement.

"Please can passengers due to travel on these flights arrive at JKIA at least 1 hour ahead of the scheduled departure time."

The airline said it had decided to combine two flights to accommodate as many passengers as possible.

Flight 439 and 461 is set to depart JKIA for Mombasa at 6pm, Flight 403 and 409 is scheduled to fly to Kisumu at 7pm while Flight 405 will leave for Mombasa at 7pm.


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