Nairobi international airport closed Sunday following crash landing


NAIROBI, Kenya – Nairobi’s main international airport was shut for part of Sunday following the crash-landing of a domestic flight, airport officials have confirmed, with all flights diverted to other air hubs in the country.

The Kenyan Airports Authority said a Fokker 50 flying from Wajir in the northeast to Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, suffered landing gear failure and landed on its belly at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, blocking the only runway. No casualties were reported.

The incident comes just days after a Virgin Atlantic flight inbound to Heathrow was forced to dump fuel and perform a “non standard” landing after part of the landing gear failed to deploy for landing.

All inbound flights at Jomo Kenyatta International were diverted through Sunday to the port city of Mombasa while work was underway to clear the runway and resume flights to and from east Africa’s main air transport hub, officials said.

The Fokker 50 that crash landed is operated by Skyward International, an aircraft charter company established in 2010 by a group of local pilots and investors, according to its website.

The company is a leading aircraft charter company in the East Africa region with two Fokker 50 aircraft that they operate domestically, while there are ongoing talks into the acquisition of three more, which would possibly include a Fokker 100.

The company appears to charter out their planes for private use, but it is unclear how many passengers were on board the plane that crash landed Sunday.

Kenya, unlike other African countries, has a generally safe and well-regarded aviation sector. The last major air accident to occur in the country was in 1974 when Lufthansa Flight 540, a Boeing 747 crashed shortly after takeoff, killing 59 people.

That incident to date remains the most deadly air disaster on Kenyan soil.