Two flights depart JKIA as military personnel take over counters

Passengers board a Kenya Airways plane on March 6, 2019. Photo/COURTESY
Passengers board a Kenya Airways plane on March 6, 2019. Photo/COURTESY

Two flights have departed the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport after military personnel began manning counters following the workers strike that had halted operations.

The Kenya Airways and Ethiopian Airline flights left the airport in Nairobi 12 hours after aviation workers downed their tools.

Two other flights that had earlier been diverted to Tanzania and Mombasa have since landed at the JKIA.

“KQ 349 from Khartoum had been diverted to Kilimanjaro. This flight landed in Nairobi at 0517hrs. KQ505 from Accra that had been diverted to Mombasa arrived at 0559hrs,” a statement from the national carrier reads.

Three other flights to London, Amsterdam and Mumbai were also expected to depart from the JKIA before midday.

Police and General Service Unit (GSU) officers engaged in running battles with the striking airport workers who had downed their tools since midnight.

They were dispersed from the airport and a contingent of military officers then came in and took over operations inside the terminals to clear the backlog of stranded passengers.

The striking employees allied to Kenya Aviation Workers Union are opposed the handover of management of JKIA to Kenya Airways.

They are also accusing the KQ leadership of financial wastage.

The union Secretary General Moss Ndiema was on Wednesday arrested with Transport CS James Macharia labelling them as criminals.

“Nobody has refused to pay your salary, nobody has given a threat that your job is at risk this is therefore malicious, economic sabotage and a criminal activity,” he said.

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