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First International Flight Lands In Nairobi After Fire

posted 8 Aug 2013, 05:29 by Mpelembe   [ updated 8 Aug 2013, 05:30 ]

The first international flight lands in Nairobi international airport, after a fire in the international terminal forces the domestic terminal to handle all flights.

NAIROBIKENYA (AUGUST 8, 2013) (REUTERS) -  A flight from Bangkok becomes the first international connection to land atNairobi international airport on Thursday (August 8), after a fire ravaged the international terminal, forcing it to close.

Kenya began preparing its small domestic terminal at the capital's fire-ravaged main airport for handling international flights, using tents to create extra space, a government minister said on Wednesday (August 7).

Thai passenger Kanya said that she was impressed with how quickly the airport had managed to get itself ready for international arrivals.

"Even when you get a big fire like yesterday, but today you can come in, so it was arranged very quick, so it's good," she said.

A fire engulfed the airport on Wednesday morning, forcing the suspension of international passenger flights and choking a vital travel gateway to east Africa.

The blaze stranded thousands of passengers at the airport.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the fire, which started in the arrivals and immigration area.

Business travellers and tourists were diverted to other airports in the region.

Those waiting to depart from the domestic terminal were international flights were rerouted were forced to endure long waits.

Briton Jonathan Cross said he was frustrated.

"There is no information. So I was ringing their city office yesterday, Ethiopian airlines, and they were saying that the flights were still on, to proceed as planned and I was expecting there would still be delays, there's no denying that," he said.

"But I was expecting at least someone to be here to give some information, there's nobody here, their office doesn't open till 9 o'clock, so it's very disappointing on their part," he told Reuters Television.

Dutch passenger Abigail Aaltje said she didn't know how her flight would be affected.

"We received some information that we were supposed to fly out today at 9:45 but we are still have to wait and see whether that's actually the case. We've only just been picked up from the hotel," she said.

The fire coincided with the 15th anniversary of a twin attacks by Islamist militants on the United States embassy in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, the commercial capital of neighbouring Tanzania.

But security analysts said there was as yet no indication of any link to Islamist militants that Kenyan soldiers are battling in neighbouring Somalia as part of anAfrican Union force.