Table of Contents
What’s the scoop with Nairobi Airport?
Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, still fondly known as Nairobi Airport, hit the news this week when President Barack Obama returned to his ancestral home of Kenya for a three-day visit.
Not only was this Obama’s first presidential visit to Kenya, it was the first ever trip to the country by a sitting American president and heavily anticipated because of his Kenyan roots. A $500,000 public works effort to beautify Nairobi was put in place and the city was under security lockdown for Obama’s first visit there since 2006, back when he was a US Senator.
Armed Secret Service agents from the US joined over 10,000 Kenyan security officers, including snipers, at Nairobi Airport as Obama’s plane touched down on Friday. There to greet Obama was Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and other senior government officials, as well as his half-sister Auma.
Obama spent much of his time in Africa talking about serious issues – from gay rights to gender equality – and embraced his status as a Kenyan American in a major speech that condemned terrorism, corruption and tribalism. Nevertheless, he also made time to let his hair down and hit the dance floor alongside Kenyan pop stars Sauti Sol at a State House dinner and spend precious time with family members during his visit.
Tell me more about Nairobi Airport…
Easily the busiest airport in East Africa, Jomo Kenyatta International is Kenya’s largest aviation facility and can be found in Embakasi, south-east of the Nairobi Business District. Formerly called Embakasi Airport and Nairobi International Airport, it now serves an average of 19,000 passengers from Africa, Europe and Asia every day. The airport gets its current name from the first Kenyan prime minister and president, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta.
The airport has scheduled flights to destinations in more than fifty countries, but the Americas are not in that list. The last scheduled direct flight between the US and Kenya was in the late 1980s with Pan Am.
What else do I need to know about Nairobi Airport?
On arrival to Nairobi, Obama told the crowd that the first time he visited Africa, the airline lost his bags, but joked that it’s not a problem on Air Force One. Torsten had a tough time with his baggage being lost by South African Airways when recently visiting Johannesburg, but thankfully Nairobi Airport tends to have decent reviews of its baggage handling.