Major flight disruptions are being reported at four main Kenyan airports as of mid-day (local time) on Wednesday, March 6, amid an ongoing aviation workers strike. Flight delays and cancelations left stranded thousands of passengers at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (NBO), Monbasa Moi International Airport (MBA), Eldoret International Airport (EDL), and Kisumu International Airport (KIS). It is still unclear when flight operations will come back to normal. Similar disruptions are expected in the coming hours and days.
The Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) began their strike in the early hours of Wednesday, with flight cancelations beginning around 03:00 (local time). Many inbound and outbound flights were canceled, diverted, or delayed by several hours; passengers at NBO were not allowed to enter the airport. In an attempt to break up an associated protest at NBO, security forces fired tear gas and clashed with striking workers. At least six people were wounded in the confrontation and police officers arrested the KAWU leader Moss Ndiema.
KAWU represents aviation workers from various sectors including cabin crews, security, air traffic controllers, among other service providers. The union threatened to hold a strike in early February 2019 but postponed the action to allow for negotiations over a proposed change in management of NBO.
Individuals flying through NBO, MBA, EDL and KIS are advised to monitor developments to the situation, confirm flight reservations, contact their airlines for further information, and anticipate long delays, flight cancelations, and limited access to airport facilities.
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