This week, Africa’s airline industry suffered a huge setback after a fire destroyed much of the main airport in Nairobi, which is the capital of Kenya. This fire took place at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Due to the fire, hundreds of passengers were left stranded just outside the airport, and delays were seen across the country. This is sure to cause even more problems for Africa’s already struggling tourism industry.
At the time of this writing, the airport had not been reopened to international travellers. However, the airport had been open for domestic and cargo services. Despite this fact, many flights had already been cancelled or diverted to other regional airports.
According to Kenyan authorities in the area, no casualties had been reported. On top of that, the blaze was contained, so it did not destroy the entire airport. Despite this, the damage that was done to the airport as a result of the fire was extensive. At this point, it is still far too early to tell just how much damage was done and how much it will cost to repair.
Authorities say that they still have yet to determine the cause of the fire. Before they draw any kind of conclusion, they want to inspect the damage that was done. They have a feeling that this will give them a better idea of what happened and help them with their investigation. Members of the investigation team said that they will establish the true cause of this fire. They all want to know what happened.
Reports from the airport show that the fire started at the airport’s international arrivals and immigration area. Judging from eyewitness reports, the fire was first spotted around 2:00 a.m. (GMT). From there, the flames spread quickly. Witnesses from outside the airport said that dark smoke could be seen pouring out of the airport and into the sky above Nairobi. The smoke coming from the airport could be seen from 2.5 miles away. Passengers who were arriving at the airport said that they could hear explosions from inside the terminal building while they were still on the plane.
One reason the fire caused so much damage was due to the lack of fire trucks. When the fire started, there were two fire engines on hand. They called for backup, but most of the fire engines ended up getting stuck in traffic jams as they attempted to reach the airport. It took nearly two hours before some of the fire engines were able to reach the airport. On top of that, the ones that did reach the airport quickly ran out of water to battle the flame. In the end, it took fire-fighters close to four hours to get the fire under control. The arrival hall for international travellers was completely destroyed.
All international flights that were attempting to land at the airport were quickly diverted to other airports in the coastal city of Mombasa. The passengers who escaped outside the airport said that they were left stranded with very little information as to what happened or where to go.