, NAIROBI, Aug 8 – International flights landed at Nairobi airport Thursday, the first since a huge fire gutted the arrivals terminal, causing widespread chaos and delays.
Wednesday’s blaze forced the cancellation or diversion of scores of flights at east Africa’s biggest transport hub.
Using the domestic terminal for passengers instead of the fire-damaged international hall, flights from London and Bangkok safely landed early on Thursday, said Eric Kiraithe, head of security at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).
Officials were waiting for an accident investigations report into the blaze and the extent of the damage caused to get “a clearer indication” of when normal operations might resume, government spokesman Muthui Kariuki said.
Cargo and domestic flights out of the Kenyan capital had resumed on Wednesday evening.
However, it was not clear when airlines other than the national carrier Kenya Airways would also land at Nairobi.
“We will have things up and running within days,” said Kariuki.
Kiraithe told AFP the airport had received two flights from London and Bangkok, and was currently checking in passengers flying to other destinations including Zanzibar, Johannesburg and Paris.
Some of those passengers will fly first to Kenya’s second city Mombasa before taking connecting international flights, but others are expected to leave directly for their destination from Nairobi, he added.
“We are confident we will process other flights in the course of the day, although we are not fully operational,” Kiraithe said.
The fierce fire, which started before dawn on Wednesday, took around four hours to bring under control, with firefighters hampered by a lack of both water and equipment.