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 – the five hour closure of Wilson Airport will have a different effect altogether.
Information availed suggests that Wilson Airport will be closed from as early as 9:00am to at least 2:00pm, 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 December 12 of changed timings, with most departures being pulled back to before 9:00am, a challenge of sorts, as Wilson Airport only opens for operations at 7:00am.
Return flights into Wilson will also be affected, very likely causing major upheavals for the afternoon scheduled services with aircraft coming in late, i.e. after 2:00pm, thereby throwing the afternoon departures into delays or 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 by being 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.