Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport grinds to halt after workers down tools, leaving a trail of injuries, arrests, tear gas and frustration

Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport grinds to halt after workers down tools, leaving a trail of injuries, arrests, tear gas and frustration
  • Kenya’s largest aviation facility is barely functional after Kenya Authority (KAA) workers went on a go slow effectively crippling the international facility.
  • On Wednesday morning, several passengers were left stranded after their flights were delayed or rescheduled following chaos erupting at the airport.
  • No plane has landed at the largest airport in Kenya and East Africa since 3am, with a Rwanda Air plane that was supposed to pick up passengers leaving empty.

Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has come to a screeching halt.

The facility which is Kenya’s largest aviation facility is barely functional after Kenya Authority (KAA) workers went on a go slow effectively crippling the international facility.

On Wednesday morning, several passengers were left stranded after their flights were delayed or rescheduled following chaos erupting at the airport. The striking workers are unhappy with the Kenya Airways board of management, unfair staff hiring and compensation and proposed takeover of the airport by Kenya Airways.

"We are stranded at JKIA since 3am. All flights grounded," Kimany Kiongo posted on Twitter.

Kenya Airways has released a statement informing its customers and the general public that the airline will be experiencing disruptions in normal flight operations.

As a result of this strike, we anticipate situations of flight delays, cancellations and schedule changes. We regret this situation and we are making every effort to minimize the inconveniences this strike action may cause to our guests. The relevant stakeholders are already doing everything possible to restore operations at the airport.” read part of the statement.

No plane has landed at the largest airport in Kenya and East Africa since 3am, with a Rwanda Air plane that was supposed to pick up passengers leaving empty.

The flight schedule on the Kenya Airports Authority website however, showed that at least six inbound flights, which were set to land between 1.55am and 6.59am, were still marked ‘scheduled’.

Similarly, at least 26 outbound flights were still marked scheduled several hours after they should have departed.

Fire engines have also been withdrawn from some runways, with planes that were supposed to leave the East African aviation hub remaining grounded.

General Service Unit (GSU) officers were deployed to the airport to combat the striking aviation workers who have been engaging the police in running battles.

Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) Secretary-General Moses Ndiema was arrested as six Kenya Airways (KQ) workers were seriously injured as the GSU officers lobbed teargas.

Among its grievance, Kawu is demanding the removal from office of KAA Chief Executive Johnny Andersen and chairman of the board Isaac Awuondo and their KQ counterparts.

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