Earlier this evening at East Africa’s busiest airport, aircraft takeoffs and landings came to a complete standstill.
An incoming Kenya Airways flight from Entebbe, KQ 415, burst its tires on landing, leaving the aircraft stuck on the runway and halting all aircraft traffic.
This runway incident has once again demonstrated the immediate need to have a second runway.
Passengers, none of them which came to any harm, were disembarked from the aircraft and bussed to the arrivals terminal.
All incoming flights bound for Jomo Kenyatta International Airport subsequently, and at great expense to the affected airlines, had to be diverted to Mombasa while flight departures had to be delayed until the runway was eventually cleared after 9 pm and flights could resume. Affected passengers and people on the ground were advised to seek information from their airline as to landing of inbound flights and revised take off times for outbound flights.
The incident prompted immediate calls from the aviation fraternity at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to give the building of the second runway top priority and see to it that it is completed at the earliest opportunity.
The second runway was part of the expansion of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport under the “Project Greenfield” which was launched with much fanfare by Kenya President Uhuru Kenyatta only to be scrapped a year and a bit later, leaving contractor and government locked in arguments over compensation while further delaying the construction of the crucially important second runway.