Full operations at JKIA to resume at midnight- Govt

Full operations at Kenya's main airport will resume at midnight, the government has announced.

Transport Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau said Thursday that the State pavilion that is reserved for visiting Heads of State has been opened to normal travellers.

"The President has put the State pavilion at our disposal to serve as the main arrivals unit for all passengers," said Mr Kamau during a news conference at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), Nairobi.

He said the security of passengers was guaranteed.

"We want to reassure international and local passengers that while they may experience some level of discomfort and delays during travel, the government of Kenya and KAA is working with all the airport stakeholders to ensure their safety and security, while restoring normal operations as soon as possible," said Mr Kamau.

He said the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) had converted the domestic departures Unit 3 into a temporary international arrivals and departures terminal.

"Various international flights have now arrived and departed from Unit 3," said Mr Kamau.

The Cabinet Secretary said Kenya Airways was presently operating at 35 per cent capacity with "two flights last night to Mombasa from Nairobi and Paris and three incoming flights this morning from Bangkok direct to JKIA and from London and Amsterdam via Mombasa International Airport"

"We can also confirm that five KQ flights to Juba, Johannesburg, Accra, Antananarivo and Precision to Zanzibar departed early this (Thursday) morning," he said.

"We expect more KQ flights to Amsterdam, Kinshasa, Entebbe, Dar es Salaam, Kigali-Bujumbura, Bombay, London, Dubai, Johannesburg, Paris and Bangkok to go out later today (Thursday)."

In a telephone call to President Kenyatta, the US leader restated his country's unwavering support to Kenya.

Regional leaders also offered their support.

Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Paul Kagame of Rwanda, Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn telephoned President Kenyatta to offer support, including the use of airports in their own countries while Kenya worked to normalise operations at JKIA.

President Kenyatta also received a call from the President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka, as well as senior executives from the World Bank, who had immediate offers of financing the rehabilitation of the airport.

“We are encouraged by the support of the US President, my brothers the regional leaders, as well as major financial institutions who all want to see the regional air hub back on its feet quickly,” President Kenyatta said.

“We are determined that normal operations resume at the airport quickly, and are glad to see that a partial reopening has already taken place, with successful domestic flight operations."

On Wednesday, the fire that started at dawn destroyed huge sections of the international arrivals terminal, including the area connecting to Units One and Two, as well as shops, banks, forex bureaux, travel agencies and airline offices.


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