Skift Take

The slowdown isn’t particularly alarming amidst a wave of air-related strikes within Kenya, but does highlight the air traffic controllers' ability to manipulate airport operations.

Breaking news are reaching from a source at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi that Air Traffic Control has inflicted a slow go on all traffic in and out of Kenya’s premier airport, delaying some flights by as much as an hour. Tweets from passengers on board planes, kept on hold while taxiing to take off, have expressed their disgust with the situation as strikes across the country seem to spread, probably in response to parliament attempting to give itself a multi-billion shillings golden handshake, a move, however, stopped by President Kibaki who refused to sign the bill when submitted to him a few weeks ago.

The source, with little other information that incoming and outgoing flights are slowed down considerably, had this to say: “They had issues with a number of things – pay, terms and conditions, and equipment, too, lack of enough controllers forcing extra shifts and so forth. But no one right now knows what triggered this today and how long it might take. The taxiway to take off is right now full, and planes due to depart are kept at the gates.

“I cannot say if flights have already been diverted because that might be an option, but when an aircraft comes close to the mandatory fuel reserves, they have to land immediately or otherwise declare an emergency, in which case even striking ATC will process them for reasons of getting the aircraft safely on the ground. We at the airlines are just blindsided, and we are not getting information what is going to happen and how long this go slow might take.

“But if you can get the information out, tell people to contact their airlines at the airport to get the latest information on delays to avoid people starting to crowd the terminals also.”

Immediate calls to a known number at ATC in Nairobi went unanswered making it impossible to get a feedback from them or comment on the circumstances of the apparent strike.

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Tags: delays, kenya, nairobi

Photo credit: Passengers make their way to a flight at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya. Alexander Johmann /

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