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Last Outage Just 2 Days Ago

Kenya's main airport suffers power outage again

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Jul 19, 2011

(eTN) - A second major power failure hit Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport last night, again forcing airlines to divert flights to other airports in Kenya and the region, while awaiting power to be restored.

Only two days earlier, the same happened in the early morning hours, when national airline Kenya Airways is ordinarily processing thousands of connecting passengers from regional destinations flying via Nairobi. Over a dozen flights had to be diverted, at airlines’ expense, to such places like Mombasa, Entebbe and even beyond, costing hundreds of thousands of US dollars the Kenya Airport Authority is now expected to compensate for.

Comments from airline personnel on Sunday were acid, but nothing compared to the lastest tsumami of invectives coming the direction of this correspondent, when in touch late last night with personnel based at JKIA. The management of Kenya Airports Authority was predictably shtumm on this second major outage lasting several hours during the evening peak period, prompting calls for the authority’s "Damaging" Director as one outspoken regular source said, to be sacked together with others responsible for these regular outages.

"We are faced with a lot of cost and will probably go to court with KAA [Kenya Airport Authority] for compensation. This is gross misconduct, and they are not taking their duties and us seriously. We are the reason, we airlines are the reason they exist, they feed off us with exorbitant fees, and what do we get? Boilers exploding, power interruptions time and again, and no back up in place, which comes on instantly. We are fed up with these people and demand their immediate resignation or sacking, whatever comes first’," the source said.

Sources from Kenya Power, another parastatal in the cross hairs of Kenyan consumers and the media, denied any responsibility for these outages claiming the substation at JKIA was powered up and that internal wiring and short circuits were responsible for the JKIA electricity problems. Another aviation source in Nairobi conceded this saying: "This is possible; the contractors may be doing shoddy work, cutting wires when digging, and that goes to project supervision. If KAA has no capacity to do a good supervision of the work done to expand JKIA, they must employ competent engineers to do that for them, and it also casts a very bad light on the contractors they are using to build our airport. If already now there are such big problems, what will those buildings look like in a few years, or will the apron spaces crack up and get potholes for shoddy workmanship? There is something seriously wrong at KAA and best key managers now leave and make space for new recruits from the private sector who can do the job."

While no one at Kenya Airways, the biggest user of services at JKIA, would go on official record, it was nevertheless learned that the airline will seek immediate audience with the transport ministry in the morning to also demand instant improvements and changes at KAA. Two other airline executives from privately-owned airlines using JKIA left open the question of compensatory damages, only saying that this will be discussed within the airlines’ own regular meetings to devise a strategy and way forward.

Kenya's main airport suffers power outage again
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