Nairobi Airport Damaged by Fire

Nairobi's Kenyatta International Airport was damaged and temporarily shut down on Wednesday by a massive fire.

 

According to CNN, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Michael Kamau told reporters that domestic flights have resumed, and that international arrivals will resume Thursday. There is no information about when departures will begin. 

Kenya Airways has announced that flights will resume on a "limited" basis. According to AllAfrica.com, the airline re-routed five international flights with over a thousand passengers to the Moi International Airport in Mombasa. Transiting passengers have been put up at hotels, and those who landed in Mombasa instead of Nairobi can complete the final leg of their journey by road. The site notes that 200 travelers have already opted to reach their destination by land. 

The blaze reportedly "engulfed the airport's entire international terminal," but no serious casualties have been reported so far. 

 

Nairobi is a major hub for tourism to Southern Africa, and tour operators are taking note of the closure and its impact on local businesses. Safari company &Beyond released the following statement: "&Beyond will be in contact with our trade partners on any bookings that have been impacted, and guests currently in Kenya or scheduled to depart through JKIA are being assisted to amend their onward journey. &Beyond's regional offices in Nairobi and Arusha are always on call and local teams are constantly updated with the latest information."

It is worth noting that the fire occurred on the 15th anniversary of the deadly terrorist attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, which killed 224 people and injured approximately 4,500. Just last week, the U.S. State Department issued a worldwide travel alert and closed numerous embassies and consulates throughout the Middle East and Africa - but not in Kenya or Tanzania.

 

 

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