While the temporary closure of the airspace around Kenya’s main airport, Jomo Kenyatta International yesterday caused only limited disruption for air traffic – Kenya’s air force was training for their flyby maneuvers and aerial displays on the 12th of December – will the five hour closure of Wilson Airport take on a different dimension altogether.
Information availed suggests that Wilson Airport will be closed from as early as 09.00 hrs (a.m.) to at least 14.00 hrs, throwing departures into the country’s national parks into some disarray.
Air operators with scheduled flights from Wilson Airport to upcountry destinations, the national parks and the Kenya coast are scrambling right now to inform clients and passengers booked for the 12th of December of changed timings, most departures being pulled back to before 09.00 hrs (a.m.), a challenge of sorts as Wilson Airport only opens for operations at 07.00 hrs (a.m.).
Return flights into Wilson will needless to say also be affected, very likely causing major upheavals for the afternoon scheduled services with aircraft coming in late, i.e. after 14.00 hrs thereby throwing the afternoon departures into delays or at worst even cancellations.
Some airlines have opted to take the more expensive alternative of flying into Jomo Kenyatta International Airport but initial passenger feedback speaks of travelers not being amused to be forced to use the main airport given the traffic jams on the road to the airport and the increased hassle of getting through the security checkpoints. Passengers who parked their vehicles at Wilson Airport and are returning on the 12th will also be forced to make added transport arrangements should their inbound flights land at JKIA instead of Wilson.
In a related development was it also learned that the Mara North Airstrip continues to be closed for major maintenance but is expected to reopen for operations on or about 16th of December in time for the anticipated rush in holiday travel.
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Thome provides aviation, tourism & conservation news from
Eastern Africa & the Indian Ocean region. (wolfganghthome.wordpress.com)