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Confusion As Re-Opened Kenya Airport Overwhelmed By Passenger Numbers

posted 9 Aug 2013, 03:30 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 9 Aug 2013, 03:31 ]

Kenya's main international airport suffers hitches on first day of opening officially after a devastating fire on 7th August.

NAIROBIKENYA (AUGUST 9, 2013)(REUTERS) -  Chaos reigned at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Friday (August 9) just a few hours after Kenya said it would reopen its main airport at midnight on Thursday.

The airport, which was destroyed after a fire on Wednesday 7th August forced, the suspension of international and cargo flights, choking a vital gateway to east Africa.

Both departing and arriving passengers complained of delays.

"We are trying to get on the plane at 8:10 and we are going to miss it and in Amsterdam we have a 45 minutes layover to get to AtlantaGeorgia and we are going to miss that flight and that's the only flight so we are gonna be stuck in Amsterdam, but they tell us one line, we get in one line, then they change it to another line and change it to another line, very lack of co-ordination." said US tourist Mara Cox.

Other passengers complained of lack of information.

"We were supposed to leave at 9:05, we are going to Johannesburg and we are waiting in line nobody seems to be going inside. Its a little frustrating as nobody is telling us what's going on." said Andy Somen.

On Thursday Engineer Michael KamauKenya's cabinet secretary for transport said that the Kenyan authorities were being assisted by foreign organisations in their investigations.

He also said the situation would return to normal by Friday. However this was not the case.

"I have a heart condition and I would like to just get home. I risked my life to get here and now I am to have to go through this. I have 2 machines in my body that makes my body work and I am having to go through this." said Reba Harrison, a tourist from the United States.

Inside the gutted building, neat lines of metal trolleys with melted plastic handles were the only clear reminder that the building - whose roof partially collapsed - was once an airport terminal.

Some travellers searched for their luggage amid the charred ruins while staff from Western embassies waved their national flags to attract passengers looking for a place to stay.

The fire engulfed Kenya's main airport on Wednesday, forcing the suspension of international passenger flights and choking a vital travel gateway to east Africa.