Kenya says airport incident was emergency drill
Kenya’s airports authority triggered a flurry of panic online Wednesday after it announced an incident involving a plane at Nairobi’s international airport — only to clarify it had been a drill.
Images posted on Twitter by some media outlets showed black smoke billowing from a site at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA), one of the busiest in Africa.
The Kenya Airports Authority said rescue operations were under way after “an aircraft overflying Nairobi encountered an incident” at the airport on Wednesday morning.
But the authority later said the exercise, “which involved a simulated incident of an aircraft that crashed at the airport”, was aimed at enhancing the facility’s preparedness for emergencies.
“The primary objective of this exercise was to test and evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of the airport’s emergency response procedures,” it said.
“This incident was entirely simulated and did not pose any real danger to passengers, crew members or airport operations.”
JKIA, which lies on the outskirts of Nairobi, handled a total of 6.5 million passengers last year, according to government figures.
The number of international visitor arrivals to Kenya, a popular tourist destination renowned for its wildlife parks and Indian Ocean beaches, jumped to 1.54 million last year as travel rebounded following the Covid pandemic.