Sunday, June 12, 2011

Travel chaos at JKIA after power blackout

Click the link on the subject header for the article.

Operations at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport were thrown into disarray as aeroplanes could not land or take off for several hours.

The air traffic closure, from 5.30 pm until after 8 pm on Saturday was occasioned by a power blackout, according to the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority.

An aircraft was diverted to Entebbe airport in Uganda while the rest were forced to land in Mombasa and Kisumu during the time.

Others that were due for take off were delayed at the airport in Nairobi.

The Authority’s public relations officer Mutia Mwandikwa said the interruption stalled the entire computer system, including the runway lights.

“After the power failure, the back-up system also failed to start immediately. The UPS (uninterruptible power supply system) took some time before it was fixed,” he said.

During the time passengers were stranded while airlines were forced to adjust their schedules.

Mr Mwandikwa said normal operations at the airport resumed at 8 pm.

Someone needs to be fired or sued. Here is my take:

Someone in the earlier management [perhaps even current management] was paid off to install a crappy UPS system. So when push came to shove, it did not work!

UPS systems need batteries & these must be maintained but I would venture someone was sleeping on the job while being slipped a few coins!

The cost to airlines to divert planes to other airports is HUGE. There are costs for additional fuel to/from NBO + crew costs + upset passengers + wear & tear on aircraft + delayed schedules, etc!


Dennis Kioko said...

You should install Disqus as a comment system for your blog. Talk to me on that.

I agree with you, something is wrong. someone has to take responsibility, we cannot operate like this.

Eric Kigada said...

The standard UPS system for an airport (any critical system) is "always on" not battery operated. this would probably be a Diesel rotary UPS system. You actually need two of them one to back-up the other and anyway you need to turn one off to maintain it. This is meant to give the generator (again two of them) the time to kick in while going on. Add a battery system as temporary back-up for the UPS just in case both fail. The batteries are meant to be as a stop gap measure (30sec to 5min) to enable the generator to kick in.

I am sure JKIA has nothing like what I have described set up...also they must have forgotten to service the UPS. Someone tell KAA that safety at the airport is a MUST!


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