Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

Jomo Kenyatta
International Airport
Airport type Joint (Civil and Military)
Operator Kenya Airports Authority
Serves Nairobi
Location Nairobi, Kenya
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 1,624 m / 5,327 ft
Coordinates 01°19′07″S 36°55′33″E / 1.31861°S 36.92583°E / -1.31861; 36.92583Coordinates: 01°19′07″S 36°55′33″E / 1.31861°S 36.92583°E / -1.31861; 36.92583

Location within Kenya

Direction Length Surface
m ft
06/24 4,117 13,507 Asphalt
Statistics (2011)
Passengers 6,348,635[1]
Latitude and longitude provided by Kenya Airports Authority

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA: NBO, ICAO: HKJK) is an international airport in Nairobi, the capital of and largest city in Kenya. Located in the Embakasi suburb 15 kilometres (9 mi) southeast of Nairobi's central business district, the airport has scheduled flights to destinations in over 50 countries.[2] The airport is named after Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya's first president and prime minister. The airport served 6,348,635 passengers in 2014,[1] making it the ninth-busiest airport in Africa by total passengers. It is the hub for flag carrier Kenya Airways, Jambojet, as well as Fly540 and African Express Airways.



On 9 March 1958, Embakasi Airport was opened by the last colonial governor of Kenya, Sir Evelyn Baring.[3] The airport was due to be opened by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother; however, she was delayed in Australia and could not make the ceremony.[4]

In 1972, the World Bank approved funds for further expansion of the airport, including a new terminal building, the airport's first dedicated cargo terminal, new taxiways, police and fire stations, and the building of the main access road to the airport (Airport South Road). The total cost of the project was over US$29 million (US$111.8 million in 2013 dollars).[5] On 14 March 1978, construction of the current terminal building was completed on the other side of the airport's single runway and opened by President Kenyatta.[6] The airport was again renamed, this time in honour of President Kenyatta after his death on 22 August 1978.

On 5 August 2013, an airlock in the main pipeline that delivers jet fuel to the airport caused all inbound flights to the airport to be diverted to other airfields. Approximately 1,000 passengers were placed in overnight accommodations, and the fault was fixed the next morning.[7]

2013 fire

Main article: Nairobi airport fire

On 7 August 2013, a fire originating in the immigration area caused massive damage to the airport and forced it to suspend operations temporarily. Unit 3, usually dedicated to domestic operations, was used temporarily for international traffic.[8] The worst fire in the airport's history occurred on the fifteenth anniversary of the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, but no connection was immediately obvious and no terrorist group has claimed responsibility. The cause is not believed to be intentional, as no explosive devices were discovered during the initial investigation.[9][10] According to Kenyan officials, firefighting efforts were hampered by some of the first responders choosing to loot the airport instead of fighting the blaze.[11] International arrivals had been bused to a temporary facility set up in the ground floor of the new parkade until the reconstruction of the damaged areas. In June 2015, a new, fully functional, but temporary terminal building became operational. This terminal building is planned for a design life of 10 years, until completion of the planned new permanent facility.[12]

Sky Aero launched flights to Kisumu and Mombasa in May 2014[13] but ceased operations a few months later.[14]



There are two terminals. Terminal 1 is arranged in a semi-circular orientation and is divided into four parts: 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1E are used for international arrivals and departures while terminal 1D is used for domestic departures and arrivals.[15] Terminal 2 is used by low cost carriers. The original terminal, located on the north side of the runway, is used by the Kenya Air Force and is sometimes referred as Old Embakasi Airport.[16]

The groundbreaking of a new passenger terminal dubbed the "Greenfield Terminal" with a capacity of 20 million passengers was held on 3 December 2013. The project included the construction of the single largest terminal in Africa and was to be completed in 2017.[17] On March 25th, 2016, Transport secretary James Macharia announced the project was cancelled, stating high costs as the main reason. [18] Once complete, the terminal would have had 60 check-in positions, 32 air bridges and eight remote gates. Figures from KAA indicate that the airport's current terminal has a capacity of 2.5 million passengers but handles an average of 6.5 million passengers every year. Traffic at the airport grows at a rate of 12 percent per annum and is expected to hit the 25 million mark by 2025. It is as of yet unclear how the KAA plans to accommodate passenger growth.

Second Runway

A new instrument landing system-equipped runway 5,500 metres (18,000 ft) in length has been approved for construction at a cost of 12.8 billion Kenyan shillings (US$146.5 million).[19] An airport official has stated that the second runway will allow for continuous airport operations should an aircraft incident render the existing runway unusable.[20] The runway also will enable direct long haul flights to destinations such as New York City, carrying up to 32 tonnes.[19] Construction is scheduled to begin in January 2016 and be completed in December 2017.[21]

Airlines and destinations


African Express Airways Berbera, Dubai–International, Galkayo, Hargeisa, Mogadishu, Sharjah
Air Arabia Sharjah
Air Mauritius Mauritius
British Airways London–Heathrow
China Southern Airlines Guangzhou
Daallo Airlines Mogadishu
EgyptAir Cairo
Emirates Dubai–International
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi
Fastjet Dar es Salaam,[22] Kilimanjaro[22] (both ending 3 December 2016)[23]
Fly540 Eldoret, Homa Bay, Juba, Kisumu, Lamu, Lodwar, Mombasa, Zanzibar
Fly-SAX Entebbe, Mogadishu, Mombasa, Moroni
Jambojet Eldoret, Kisumu, Mombasa
Jubba Airways Mogadishu
Kenya Airways Abidjan, [24] Accra, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Antananarivo, Bamako, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Bangui, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cairo, Cape Town, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Douala, Dubai–International, Dzaoudzi, Entebbe, Freetown–Lungi, [25] Guangzhou, Hanoi, Harare, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Johannesburg–OR Tambo, Juba, Khartoum, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Kinshasa–N'djili, Kisumu, Lagos, Lilongwe, Livingstone, London–Heathrow, Luanda, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Mahé, Malindi, Maputo, Mombasa, Monrovia, Moroni, Mumbai, Nampula, Ndola, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Yaoundé, Zanzibar
KLM Amsterdam
LAM Mozambique Airlines Maputo, Nampula
operated by Lufthansa CityLine
Precision Air Dar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar
Qatar Airways Doha
RwandAir Entebbe, Kigali
Royal Air Maroc Casablanca
Saudia Jeddah
South African Airways Johannesburg–OR Tambo
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich
Turkish Airlines Istanbul–Atatürk


Aerial overview
Main passenger terminal building
Air France Cargo Paris–Charles de Gaulle
Astral Aviation Dar es Salaam, Entebbe, Juba, Kigali, London–Stansted, Mogadishu, Mwanza
Cargolux Amsterdam, Luxembourg, Maastricht/Aachen
EgyptAir Cargo Cairo
Emirates SkyCargo Amsterdam, Dubai–Al Maktoum
Etihad Cargo Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam
Lufthansa Cargo Frankfurt, Johannesburg–OR Tambo
Martinair Amsterdam, Johannesburg–OR Tambo
Qatar Airways Cargo Brussels
Saudia Cargo Amsterdam, Jeddah
Singapore Airlines Cargo Amsterdam
Turkish Airlines Cargo Entebbe, Istanbul–Atatürk, Khartoum, Kinshasa

Other facilities


The main entrance to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is on Airport South Road, which can be accessed by an exit from the A109 highway (Mombasa Road). Passengers can also travel to and from the airport via city Bus Route Number 34) or taxi. A suburban train service is also proposed.

Aircraft accidents and incidents


  1. 1 2 "Africa's Top 17 Busiest Airports (2011)" (PDF). Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  2. "Jomo Kenyatta, Nairobi (NBO) flight index". Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  3. "Nairobi's New Airport" (PDF). Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  4. "Nairobi Airports". Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  5. "Nairobi Airport Project". The World Bank. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  6. may not-be-ready-unt "ETurboNews" Check |url= value (help). 15 November 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  7. "KENYA: Mass delays at Nairobi JKIA after pipeline fault starves airport of Jet A1", The African Aviation Tribune, 6 August 2013
  8. "Kenya scrambles to limit economic fallout from massive airport fire", Los Angeles Times, reported by Nicholas Soi and Robyn Dixon, 7 August 2013
  9. "President Uhuru Kenyatta dismisses any acts of terrorism in Jomo Kenyatta International Airport fire," Standard Media, reported by PSCU, 9 August 2013
  10. "Fire guts Kenya's main airport, chokes regional gateway", Reuters, reported by Drazen Jorgic, 7 August 2013
  11. "First responders looted Nairobi airport banks, shops while building burned", Associated Press, reported by Jason Straziuso and Tom Odula, published in The Globe and Mail, 8 August 2013
  12. "Nairobi Airport Terminal Building", Röder HTS Höcker, accessed 17 September 2015
  13. "Kenyan start-up, SkyAero, begins Kisumu flights".
  14. "Ex-Skyaero staff distracted".
  15. "Facts and Figures – Nairobi", Kenya Airports Authority, 9 December 2012
  16. "The Creation of an African Aviation Epicenter",, reported by Denis Maina Gathanju, 1 May 2004
  17. "The President launches construction of new JKIA terminal". Capital FM. 3 December 2013. Retrieved 5 January 2014.
  19. 1 2 "Work on second JKIA runway to begin next year". Standard Digital. 15 November 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  20. "KENYA: Construction of Nairobi JKIA's second runway to start in November", The African Aviation Tribune, 16 July 2013
  21. "JKIA Expansion and Modernisation". Government of Kenya. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
  22. 1 2 "Fastjet Launches Flights to Kenya". Fastjet. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 23 December 2015.
  26. "Lufthansa Nairobi Service Changes Oct 2015 - Aug 2016". 1 October 2015. Retrieved 6 October 2015.
  27. "AFRICAN EXPRESS AIRWAYS CONTACTS", African Express Airways, accessed 13 August 2013
  28. "Terms of Use." Kenya Airports Authority. Retrieved on 26 May 2011. "Kenya Airports Authority is a company registered in Kenya, whose registered office is at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, Kenya."
  29. Accident description, Aviation Safety Network, 17 May 1989
  30. "Accident Description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  31. "Kenya Reopens Nairobi Airport After EgyptAir Plane Removed". Bloomberg Businessweek. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 7 August 2013.

    External links

    Media related to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at Wikimedia Commons

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