NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 23 -National carrier Kenya Airways resume its normal night operations on Wednesday after a one day suspension following a Notice to Air Men (NOTAM) by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) that the runway threshold lights did not meet the minimum requirement.
A statement from KQ Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni stated that KCAA, the aviation regulatory authority, had advised that the lighting system had been restored and now met the international standards.
“Therefore it is safe for the planes to take off and land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at night. Kenya Airways would like to inform all its esteemed customers that it has resumed night operations into and out of JKIA,” the statement read in part.
The airline was on Tuesday forced to reschedule nine night flights after the notice was issued affecting over 1,100 passengers.
Two flights from Entebbe and Mombasa were diverted to the Moi International Airport, Mombasa while a third one from Dar-e-salaam, Tanzania was diverted back to Dar-e-salaam.
Kenya Airways said its decision was because they are the largest operator operating a minimum of 10 night flights and it was not willing to take any risk after the issuance of the NOTAM.
All the flights that were affected on Tuesday night took off on Wednesday morning.
At least 15 Kenya Airways flights were scheduled to depart Wednesday night between 6pm and 11.45 pm while 10 flights were scheduled to arrive between 5.50pm and 11.25pm.
But the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority Corporate Communications Manager, Mutia Mwandikwa maintained that the regulatory authority did not recommend the cancellation or suspension of any night flights operating to and from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.
“We have not suspended any night flights. KCAA has just issued a NOTAM based on the activities that are going on at the airport which include the repair of the runway lights. The choice of flights to land or take off is basically an operator’s choice,” Mr Mwandikwa said.
He said the NOTAM was issued as required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“The NOTAM gives the status of the lighting at the airport and requests pilots to exercise caution on landing and take-off. It also informs pilots that they may face delays when the emergency lights are being activated,” he said.
Mr Mwandikwa said the problem was because some circuits were not working.
The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) said it was working on an active runway where there was need to maintain safety and uninterrupted operations and added that a portable backup runway light system was being used to supplement runway lights as repair works continued.
A NOTAM is filed and transmitted to alert pilots of any hazards en route or at a specific location during a flight. It could be issued due to bad weather conditions or any activity that may interfere with normal landing and take-off operations.