Foggy Conditions Lead to Flight Diversions from Eldoret Airport

Nairobi, Kenya-Two flights bound for Eldoret International Airport (EIA) were diverted to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) yesterday, April 2, due to adverse weather conditions. This decision, confirmed by a source familiar with the matter, underscored concerns over low visibility and potential risks to flight safety.

According to insider information obtained by TheAfricanWatch, both flights, operated by different airlines, were compelled to alter their routes just minutes before their anticipated landings at Eldoret International Airport. The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, elucidated that such determinations are typically guided by two primary factors: first, the assessment of the air navigation team regarding prevailing visibility conditions, and second, the discretion of the pilot, who ultimately bears the responsibility for the safety of the flight.

“It’s usually a decision that the air navigation team takes especially when visibility is low. It’s procedural and the official call is made by the team at the tower or when the pilot feels the risk is higher if he landed,” the source explained.

A check conducted by TheAfricanWatch via Flightradar24 revealed that the initial flight, originally slated for a 7:10 am arrival at Eldoret International Airport, was rerouted to Nairobi. Subsequently, another flight, scheduled to touch down at 7:25 am, followed suit, also diverting to JKIA.

Despite Eldoret’s recorded mild temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, the emergence of fog significantly compromised visibility, prompting the rerouting of the flights. The extent of this weather phenomenon remained contingent upon its development, potentially posing further challenges to air travel.

In accordance with aviation regulations, pilots are mandated to chart alternative routes and identify diversion airports as a precautionary measure during flight planning. Moreover, clear and consistent communication with air traffic control (ATC), under the guidance of Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) officials, remains paramount in ensuring the safe navigation of flights amidst changing weather conditions.

JKIA, recognized as the largest airport in East Africa, serves as a pivotal hub for both passenger and cargo airlines, hosting over 40 and 25 carriers respectively. This strategic position underscores its significance in facilitating regional and international air travel, particularly in scenarios necessitating unforeseen diversions such as those witnessed yesterday.

As the aviation sector grapples with the unpredictability of weather patterns, incidents like these serve as stark reminders of the critical importance of safety protocols and the collaborative efforts among aviation stakeholders to mitigate risks and ensure the well-being of passengers and crew alike.


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