Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta International Airport

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, locally known as JKIA is located in Nairobi, Kenya. It is East and Central Africa’s busiest airport and is an important aviation hub continentally.
Source: Flickr内罗毕
Airport typeJoint (Civil and Military)
OperatorKenya Airports Authority
ServesNairobi Metropolitan Region
LocationEmbakasi, Nairobi, Kenya
Hub forKenya Airways Jambojet Fly540 African Express Airways
Elevation AMSL1,624 m / 5,330 ft
Coordinates01°19′07″S 36°55′33″ECoordinates: 01°19′07″S 36°55′33″E

Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (IATA: NBO, ICAO: HKJK), is an international airport in Nairobi, the capital of and largest city in Kenya. Located in the Embakasi suburb 18 kilometres (11 mi) southeast of Nairobi’s central business district, the airport has scheduled flights to destinations in over 50 countries. Originally named Embakasi Airport, the airport’s name was changed in 1978 to honor Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first president and prime minister. The airport served over 7 million passengers in 2016 making it the seventh busiest airport in passenger traffic on the continent.

2000 – present

On 10 June 2008, Kenya Vision 2030 was launched by President Mwai Kibaki. Under the vision, JKIA’s aging infrastructure was to be upgraded to World Class standards. New Terminals and Runway were to be added in phases. The African Development Bank carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment on the development of Phase 1 of the proposed Green Field Terminal (GFT) which was expected to increase the capacity of JKIA to about 18.5 million passengers annually by the year 2030. The Greenfield Terminal project was to encompass the construction of a four level terminal building comprising a central processing area, a transit hotel, landside retail centers, arrivals and departures plaza. Ancillary facilities which would have included an access road, car parking, access taxiways, Ground Service Equipment (GSE) and bus parking areas.

On 29 March 2016, the KES 56 billion (US$560 Million) Greenfield Terminal Project was terminated by Kenya Airports Authority because the contractor failed to secure funds thus ending Kenya’s dream of having the largest terminal in Africa. It however remains to be seen whether future administrations like the Grand Coalition Government of 2008-2013 will re-activate the project which is necessary for Nairobi and Kenya’s future aviation needs in the 2020s, 2030s and beyond. It also remains to be seen whether the new KAA Managing director Johnny Andersen who was appointed in mid 2016 will have a vision for the airport beyond the 2030s.

In February 2017, the airport was awarded a Category One Status by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States, thus allowing possible direct flights between the US and Nairobi. 5 other African countries have direct flights to the US (South Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, and Cabo Verde). In April 2017, the US Department of Transportation granted Air Namibia a licence to fly to the US, making it the 6th African country to be permitted to operate this route.

2013 fire

Aftermath of 2013 Fire at JKIA
Source: Salama jamaa

On 7 August 2013, a fire originating in the immigration area caused massive damage to the airport and forced it to suspend operations temporarily. Unit 3, usually dedicated to domestic operations, was used temporarily for international traffic. The worst fire in the airport’s history occurred on the fifteenth anniversary of the 1998 United States embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, but no connection was immediately obvious and no terrorist group has claimed responsibility. The cause is not believed to be intentional, as no explosive devices were discovered during the initial investigation. According to Kenyan officials, firefighting efforts were hampered by some of the first responders choosing to loot the airport instead of fighting the blaze. International arrivals had been bused to a temporary facility set up in the ground floor of the new parkade until the reconstruction of the damaged areas. In June 2015, a new, fully functional temporary terminal building became operational. This terminal building was planned for a design life of 10 years, until completion of the planned new permanent facility.



Terminal 1A Airside in 2017
Source: Salama jamaa

There are two terminals. Terminal 1 is arranged in a semi-circular orientation and is divided into four parts: 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1E are used for international arrivals and departures while terminal 1D is used for domestic departures and arrivals. Terminal 2 is used by low-cost carriers. The original terminal, located on the north side of the runway, is used by the Kenya Air Force and is sometimes referred as Old Embakasi Airport.

Figures from KAA indicate that the airport’s Terminal 1-A has a capacity of 2.5 million passengers  The Kenyan government is targeting over 25 million passengers annually by 2025 on the expansion of JKIA’s terminals. In 2016, JKIA accounted for more than 70 per cent of overall passenger traffic in the country. It also had over 7 million passengers pass through it. Domestic travellers through the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) made up 40% cent of overall passengers in 2016. This is an increase from 32% five years prior (2012).

Terminal 1A International Departures and Arrivals

Terminal 1A has a capacity of 2.5 million passengers a year and 3 levels, 30 check-in counters, 12 departure gates, ample seating and food & retail options. The Arrivals area houses 5 baggage carousels. This terminal is used primarily by Skyteam member airlines.

Terminal 1B International Departures

Terminal 1B houses common-use check-in counters, with security check points leading to the departure lounge on level 1. On level one is the Aspire lounge as well as duty-free shopping outlets and cafe’s

Terminal 1C International Departures

This terminal houses common-use check-in counters, with security check points leading to the departure lounge on level 1. On level 1 are duty-free shops, Kenya Airways Simba Lounge and the Turkish Airlines Lounge and a cafe.

Terminal 1D Domestic Flights

Serves departing and arriving passengers on domestic flights. Occupied only Kenya Airways and its subsidiary, Jambojet.

Terminal 1E International Arrivals

Following the closure of the main International Arrivals and Departures terminal after a fire, a parking facility was converted into the temporary International Arrivals terminal.

This terminal was subsequently opened to serve arriving passengers on airlines operating out of Terminals 1B and 1C.

NOTE: Remodeling & extending Terminals 1B, 1C & 1D is scheduled for 2017, after which JKIA is predicted to be able to handle 12M passengers.

Terminal 2 Low-cost Carriers

Serves mainly low-cost carrier airlines (LCCs). The prefabricated terminal opened in April 2015 with a capacity of 2.5M passengers – originally intended to relieve overcrowding. Terminal 2 houses international & domestic check-in desks and boarding gates. Current lounges at Terminal 2 include the Mara Lounge and Mount Kenya Lounge – both at airside, Level 1 and open 24 hours.


In January 2015, The Simba Lounge and Pride Lounge which are situated on the second floor of Terminal 1A were opened. The two facilities, with a combined capacity of 350 people, were developed at a cost of KES 135 million ($1.35 Million), and are for the use of KQ’s Premier World and SkyTeam’s Sky Priority passengers. There is also a Turkish Airlines TAV Lounge (T1B), as well as the Swissport Aspire Lounge (T1C). Both are regular lounges, which can be accessed by elite status or a paid-pass.

Second runway

In January 2017, a new instrument landing system-equipped runway 5,500 metres (18,000 ft) in length was approved for construction at a cost of KES 37 Billion shillings (approximately US$370 million). According to KAA’s managing director John Anderson, construction of the new runway which will be bigger than the existing one will begin this year (2017). It will also double aircraft movement from 25 to 45 per hour. The new runway will be a category 2 runway and will complement the older runway built in the 1970s. The proposed design of the project is a 4.8 kilometres long and 75 metre wide runway. The current runway is 60 metres wide and 4.2 kilometres long. This is an ICAO code F which can handle the new generation wide bodied aircraft like the Airbus A380 and the Boeing 747-8. The new runway will have fog lights, currently the present runway is only lit at the sides. The runway will also enable long haul flights to destinations like New York city carrying up to 32 tonnes of passengers and cargo.

Airlines and destinations


African Express AirwaysBerbera, Dubai–International, Galkayo, Hargeisa, Mogadishu, Sharjah
Air ArabiaSharjah
Air FranceParis–Charles de Gaulle
Air IndiaMumbai
Air MauritiusMauritius
British AirwaysLondon–Heathrow
China Southern AirlinesChangsha, Guangzhou
Daallo AirlinesMogadishu
Ethiopian AirlinesAddis Ababa
Etihad AirwaysAbu Dhabi
Fly540Eldoret, Homa Bay, Juba, Kisumu, Lamu, Lodwar, Mombasa, Zanzibar
JambojetEldoret, Entebbe, Kigali, Kisumu, Malindi, Mogadishu, Mombasa, Ukunda/Diani Beach
Jubba AirwaysMogadishu
Kenya AirwaysAbidjan, Accra, Addis Ababa, Amsterdam, Antananarivo, Bamako, Bangkok–Suvarnabhumi, Bangui, Blantyre, Brazzaville, Bujumbura, Cape Town, Dakar–Diass, Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, Dubai–International, Dzaoudzi, Entebbe, Freetown, Geneva, Guangzhou (suspended),  Harare, Johannesburg–OR Tambo, Juba, Khartoum, Kigali, Kilimanjaro, Kinshasa–N’djili, Kisumu, Lagos, Libreville, Lilongwe, Livingstone, London–Heathrow, Luanda, Lubumbashi, Lusaka, Mahé, Malindi, Maputo, Mauritius,  Mombasa, Monrovia, Moroni, Mumbai, Nampula, Ndola, New York–JFK, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Rome–Fiumicino, Victoria Falls, Yaoundé, Zanzibar
LAM Mozambique AirlinesDar es Salaam, Maputo, Pemba
Malawian AirlinesLilongwe
Oman AirMuscat
Precision AirDar es Salaam, Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar
Qatar AirwaysDoha
RwandAirEntebbe, Kigali
South African AirwaysJohannesburg–OR Tambo
Swiss International Air LinesZürich
Turkish AirlinesIstanbul
Uganda AirlinesEntebbe


Air France CargoParis–Charles de Gaulle
Astral AviationDar es Salaam, Doncaster/Sheffield, Entebbe, Juba, Kigali, Mogadishu, Mwanza
CargoluxAmsterdam, Luxembourg, Maastricht
EgyptAir CargoCairo
Emirates SkyCargoDubai–Al Maktoum, Maastricht
Lufthansa CargoFrankfurt, Johannesburg–OR Tambo
MartinairAmsterdam, Johannesburg–OR Tambo
Network Airline ManagementDoncaster/Sheffield, London-Stansted
Qatar Airways CargoBrussels, Doha
Saudia CargoAmsterdam, Jeddah, Maastricht
Silk Way AirlinesBaku, London-Stansted, Maastricht
Singapore Airlines CargoAmsterdam, Sharjah, Singapore
Turkish Airlines CargoEntebbe, Istanbul–Atatürk, Khartoum, Kinshasa, Maastricht

Other facilities

Aerial photograph of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO/HKJK) in Nairobi, Kenya
Source: Mkimemia at English Wikipedia


The main entrance to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is on Airport South Road, which can be accessed by an exit from the A109 highway (Mombasa Road).

Passengers can also travel to and from the airport via city Bus Route Number 34

Taxi and Car rental services are well represented.

A link to the Nairobi Commuter Rail network has been proposed.

Accidents and incidents

Source: wikipedia