See biography by J. Murray-Brown (1972).
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, formerly called Embakasi Airport and Nairobi International Airport, is Kenya's largest aviation facility, and the busiest airport in East and Central Africa. It is the 7th 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 15km 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 Five Forty Aviation. 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.
In 2006, the airport served over 4,400,000 passengers.
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 .
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s terminal has three units that cater for both arrivals and departures. Unit 1 and 2 are mainly used for international flights whereas unit 3 is mainly used for domestic flights.
Departing passengers check-in through unit 1 and 2 depending on their destinations. Both units have airline check-in counters that operate on a 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 gates at the departures used to get in to the aircraft via boarding bridges. Arriving international passengers come in through the same gates into the a concourse which leads them 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 arrivals. Scheduled bus service to and from 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, restaurant and pub in unit 2, cafeteria and snack bar in unit 3 and 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.
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 sq metres to 55,222 sq metres. Aircraft parking, which is currently constrained, will be increased from 200,000 square metres to over 300,000 square metres, 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.
It is currently being debated in government if Jomo Kenyatta Intl Airport should build a second runway. This debate was caused by an incident which closed the only operational runway for 1 day.
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