, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 19 – The Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) suffered a third blackout in a span of thirty six hours on Monday night, forcing diversion of flights.
In the latest incident, flights had to be diverted to various airports including those in the neighbouring countries following the power outage which occurred at 1900hrs on Monday night.
Flights KQ 121 from Rome and KQ 763 from Johannesburg had to be re-routed to Mombasa international airport and KQ 500 from Libreville switched to Entebbe International Airport.
Kenya Airways Chief Executive Officer Titus Naikuni appealed to the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) to put measures in place to ensure such incidents do not recur as it could make Kenyans lose international confidence on the aviation industry.
“We have lost a lot of money as Kenya Airways and this cannot be allowed to continue for long,” he stated.
Flight KQ 613 from Mombasa to Nairobi was held up on the runway at Mombasa International Airport and Mr Naikuni assured all those affected passengers that they would be re-routed to their various destinations at no extra cost.
“It is the responsibility of Kenya Airports Authority to ensure that power supply at the airport is stable and consistent. As Kenya Airways, we shall engage with KAA and other key stakeholders to avoid similar occurrences in future,” he said.
He also pointed out that in the event no immediate connections are available, passengers will be provided with hotel and accommodation before they are booked on the first available flights to their final destinations.
On Sunday, hundreds of passengers were stranded at the airport after flights were diverted due to a power outage.
The 3.30am Sunday incident temporarily disrupted flight operations forcing the flights to be directed to Moi International Airport in Mombasa, Kigali international Airport in Rwanda and Entebbe International Airport in Uganda and Julius Nyerere International Airport in Tanzania.
Kenya Airports Authority attributed the power incident to an interruption on the main power supply lines.
“Preliminary investigations show that an earth fault occurred during the changeover to generator back-up power causing the outage,” said KAA Managing Director Stephen Gichuki.
However, Mr Gichuki explained that KAA engineers together with those from Kenya Power were on hand to restore normal operations at the airport.
“By 5.30am (Sunday), KAA had deployed mobile emergency runway lights at JKIA and landing of flights resumed,” the MD said.
In a press statement, he said the situation had been rectified and a team of engineers would continuously monitor and test the power supply system to avoid such disruptions in future.