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Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Airport type Joint (Civil and Military)
Operator Kenya Airports Authority
Location Nairobi, Kenya
Hub for Fly540
Kenya Airways
Elevation AMSL 5,327 ft / 1,624 m
Coordinates 01°19′09″S 036°55′39″E / 1.31917°S 36.9275°E / -1.31917; 36.9275
Direction Length Surface
ft m
06/24 13,507 4,117 Asphalt
Statistics (2007)
Passengers 4,922,542 (2008)

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, (IATA: NBO, ICAO: HKJK) formerly called Embakasi Airport and Nairobi International Airport, is Kenya's largest aviation facility, and the busiest airport in Eastern Africa. It is the 6th busiest airport in Africa. The airport is named after the first Kenyan prime minister and president Jomo Kenyatta.

Kenyatta airport is located in Embakasi, a suburb to the south-east of Nairobi. The airport is situated 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) from Nairobi's Central Business District, and at the edge of the city's built up area. The Mombasa Highway runs adjacent to the airport, and is the main route of access between Nairobi and the airport.

The airport is the main hub of Kenya Airways and Fly540. Jomo Kenyatta airport is served by Runway 06/24. Runway 06 is ILS-equipped, and is used for take-offs and landings. The airport is served by one terminal building constructed in the 1970s. The former "Embakasi" terminal, now used for cargo and for a Kenya Air Force training facility, was constructed before the 1960s.

The airport served 4,922,542 passengers in 2008.


Nairobi Embakasi Airport was opened in May 1958, by the last Governor of Kenya, Evelyn Baring. The airport was due to be opened by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, however, she was delayed in Australia and could not make the ceremony.

Later the current terminal was built on the other side of the runway and the airport was renamed Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. The old terminal is now sometimes referred as Old Embakasi Airport and is used by the Kenya Air Force .


A frontal view of the airport, 2010.
A frontal view of the airport, 2010.

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

The cargo terminal
The cargo terminal

International Arrivals
International Arrivals

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s terminal has three units that cater for both arrivals and departures. Units 1 and 2 are mainly used for international flights whereas unit 3 is mainly used for domestic flights.

Departing passengers check-in through units 1 and 2 depending on their destinations. Both units have airline check-in counters that operate on a Common Use Terminal Equipment (CUTE) system, and immigration desks at the ground floor where passengers are cleared before they proceed to the departure lounge in the first floor via escalators or lifts. There are eight departure gates used to board aircraft via boarding bridges. Arriving international passengers enter via the same gates into a concourse which leads to immigration counters at the first floor before coming to the baggage hall situated in the ground floor. The baggage hall is well served with baggage conveyor belts.

Banking facilities, taxis, car hire, tour operators and hotel booking offices are conveniently situated at the arrival areas. A scheduled bus service to and from the town center is available at unit 1 and 2 bus stops.

Simba restaurant is situated in the 5th floor of the main central building. There is a cafeteria operated by Home Park in unit 1, a restaurant and pub in unit 2, a cafeteria and snack bar in unit 3 and an international arrival hall – all operated by NAS. Beverage and soft drink vending machines are strategically placed in each unit.

Information desks manned by customer care officers, are strategically placed in all the units and at the arrival hall. Flight information display systems (FIDS) and signage helps the passenger find his/her way around the airport.

Future expansion

On the 14th October 2005, the Kenya Airports Authority announced their plans to expand Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Over the next two years, the authority announced that it would improve airport facilities across Kenya, especially at Nairobi.

The expansion project was prompted as Jomo Kenyatta airport's annual passenger flow topped 4 million, while the airport was only constructed to handle 2.5 million passengers.

The expansion of the airport will more than double its size, from 25,662 to 55,222 square metres (276,220 to 594,400 sq ft). Aircraft parking, which is currently constrained, will be increased from 200,000 to 300,000 square metres (2,200,000 to 3,200,000 sq ft), and additional taxiways will be built. The arrivals and departures section will be fully separated, and the waiting area will be revamped.

The expansion will increase the airport's capacity to 9 million passengers a year. The project will cost the Kenya Airports Authority $100 million. The World Bank will provide $10 million. The first phase of upgrading commenced on September 29, 2006.

The government is currently debating if Jomo Kenyatta International Airport should build a second runway. This debate was caused by an incident which closed the only operational runway for 1 day.

Airlines and destinations

Cities with a direct international airlink to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport
Airlines Destinations
African Express Airways Aden, Al Mukalla, Berbera, Dubai, Juba, Mogadishu, Mombasa, Sharjah
Air Arabia Sharjah
Air Madagascar Antananarivo
Air Mauritius Mauritius
Air Seychelles Seychelles
Air Uganda Entebbe
Air Zimbabwe Harare
British Airways London-Heathrow
Brussels Airlines Brussels
Daallo Airlines Djibouti, Hargeisa, Mogadishu
East African Safari Air Juba, Kisumu, Lokichogio
EgyptAir Cairo
Emirates Dubai
Ethiopian Airlines Addis Ababa
Fly540 Mombasa, Kisumu, Eldoret, Kitale, Lodwar, Lamu, Malindi, The Mara, Kilimanjaro, Entebbe, Zanzibar
JetLink Express Eldoret, Goma, Juba, Kisumu, Mombasa
KLM Amsterdam
Kenya Airways Abidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Antananarivo, Bamako, Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi, Bujumbura, Cairo, Dar es Salaam, Dakar, Djibouti, Douala, Dubai, Entebbe, Freetown, Gaborone, Guangzhou, Harare, Hong Kong, Johannesburg, Khartoum, Kigali, Kinshasa, Kisumu, Lamu, Lagos, Lilongwe, London-Heathrow, Luanda, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Maputo, Mayotte, Mombasa, Monrovia, Moroni, Mumbai, Muscat, Ndola, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Rome-Fiumicino [resumes 16 December], Seychelles, Yaounde, Zanzibar
Linhas Aéreas de Moçambique Maputo, Pemba
Marsland Aviation
Nasair Asmara, Khartoum
Precision Air Dar es Salaam, Mwanza, Kilimanjaro, Shinyanga, Zanzibar
Qatar Airways Doha
RwandAir Kigali
Saudi Arabian Airlines Jeddah, Johannesburg
South African Airways Johannesburg
Sudan Airways Khartoum
Swiss International Air Lines Zürich
Turkish Airlines Istanbul-Atatürk
Virgin Atlantic Airways London-Heathrow

Charter airlines

Airlines Destinations
Iberworld Madrid
Monarch Airlines

Cargo airlines

  • Air France Cargo
  • Cargolux
  • EgyptAir Cargo
  • Emirates SkyCargo
  • Etihad Crystal Cargo
  • Evergreen International Airlines
  • Kenya Airways Cargo
  • Lufthansa Cargo
  • Martinair Cargo
  • Simba Air Cargo
  • Singapore Airlines Cargo

Accidents and incidents

  • On November 20, 1974, Lufthansa Flight 540, a Lufthansa Boeing 747-130, D-ABYB, LH 540, "Hessen" (German state), delivered 1970, crashed on take off from runway 24 in Nairobi killing 59 of the 157 on board. The aircraft was on a flight from Frankfurt to Nairobi and onwards to Johannesburg.
  • In May 1989 a Boeing 707-330B plane operated by Somali Airlines overran the runway and crashed into a field near the Airport. The plane had 70 on board, but no fatalities resulted.
  • On December 4 1990, a Boeing 707-321C operated by Sudania Air Cargo crashed near the airport while landing. All 10 persons on board died.
  • On January 30, 2000, Kenya Airways Flight 431 was originally intended to fly from Nairobi to Lagos to Abidjan, but the flight diverted to Abidjan. The aircraft hit the water after takeoff to Lagos.
  • On May 5, 2007, Kenya Airways Flight KQ 507, en route from Douala, Cameroon was reported to be missing with 115 passengers and crew on board. There were no survivors when the plane was found near Douala, Cameroon.

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General Info
Country Kenya
Time UTC+3
Latitude -1.319242
01° 19' 09.27" S
Longitude 36.927775
036° 55' 39.99" E
Elevation 5330 feet
1625 meters
Type Joint (Civil and Military)
Magnetic Variation 000° E (06/06)
Beacon Yes
Alternate Name NAIROBI JKIA
International Clearance Status Airport of Entry

TWR 118.7
ATIS 126.2
APP 122.3
Communications Remarks
RMP For Apn 1 - Main trml apn.

ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
06/24 13507 x 148 feet
4117 x 45 meters

Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
VOR TV ATHI RIVER - 115.5 9.9 NM 333.0
VOR-DME NV NAIROBI 078X 113.1 2.0 NM 234.0
NDB TH ATHI RIVER - 329.5 9.9 NM 332.9

Fuel Jet A1, without icing nhibitor.

100/130 octane gasoline, leaded, MIL-L-5572F (GREEN)

CAUTION Ctn due to loose pebbles on apn 3 and twys A, B, and C.
FUEL A1 (Shell, Fone 254-11-433249) (NC-100LL)
MISC Ctc twr for eng start, sfc cond, taxi onto twys. Ctc apn ctl for movement on Apn1. All acft must be pushed back. C-130 and C-17 crews must insure a tow bar isavbl.
RSTD 180 turns on rwy not auth for acft abv 30,000 lbs.

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