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Nairobi Kenyatta International (NBO) Airport

Nairobi Kenyatta International NBO Airport Overview

Nairobi - Jomo Kenyatta International Airport NBO - also referred to as JKIA - is situated 5,327 feet above sea level, serves Kenya's capital city of Nairobi and its surrounding areas.  It is the largest of Kenya’s eight airports, and also the busiest one in East Central Africa. The Airport is managed by Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).

The Airport is located in Embacasi, a suburb south-east of Nairobi, and is 18 km east of the central district of Nairobi. The Mombasa Highway A104  runs adjacent to the airport, and is the main route of access between Nairobi and the Airport.

With a long runway, and an estimated 6.5 million passengers a year, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport is hub to carrier Kenya Airways (KQ) and is host to a myriad of domestic & international airlines serving it with a multitude of direct and connecting flights to all points of the globe. 

Passenger traffic is growing at 12 percent per annum - while its yearly average passenger count is now 6.5M, the current terminal complex only supports 2.5 million.  Acccordingly, the Airport is undertaking expansion projects on several fronts, and construction on a new terminal has started late 2013.

NOTE:  Aside from information (a) through (c) below:  this is a September 2013 post of a kind traveler: 
"As you’re heading into Kenya, be sure you have already gotten your visa application and filled it out. This will save you time. (We got ours from our travel agent, but you can print one out by going online - visit:, then click on: Plan Your Trip, then on Visa and Immigration) Have your vaccination record and passport out and ready to show. Have your cash ready. Have a pen ready, too, to fill out another form upon arrival" - following it will save you time!  
(a) International travelers need to get vaccinations (visit; also arrive two hours prior to international flight.
(b) Regional airlines, especially Precision Air, regularly assign passengers to a later flight - therefore, be at the gate early to insure your scheduled departure.
(c) To avoid standing in a long line at Customs & Kenya visa desk, try to get to other customs & visa desks located at the end of the hallway, either to the right or left of it (on your way you'll pass Kenya Airways lounge, prayer room, the health offices.  (For more information open
(d) If you need a visa, buy it at the Airport, it’s faster than standing with a ready visa in line.

Self-check-in kiosks
are now available at NBO.
International Arrivals:  The parking garage serves temporarily as venue for international arrivals procedures until the new terminal will be completed.

Jomo Kenyatta Airport has one large passenger terminal, divided into 3 units:   Units 1 & 2 serve international flights which depart at either of the two units, according to destinations; Unit 3 serves mainly domestic flights. All three sections of the passenger terminal were recently extended and upgraded.
Both units 1 & 2 have common-use check-in counters, as well as security check prior to proceeding to the departure lounge on level 1.
International arrivals enter a concourse leading to the immigration counters on level 1 prior to proceeding to the baggage hall with conveyor belts.  An information desk is in the Arrivals Hall, as well as in all units. 
Services and amenities inside the terminal include banking facilities, rental car counters, tour operator desks, and hotel booking offices - all located in the Arrivals areas.  On level 5 of the main central building is the Simba restaurant; a cafeteria & snack bar is in Unit 3 and in the inrnational arrivals hall. Vending machines are strategically placed in each unit. 

NOTE: The 'Arrivals Terminal'  has been largely destroyed by an electical fire in August 2013.

Parking options at Nairobi Airport include short- and long-term parking (and a new parkade is soon to be opened).

To get from the Airport to your destination, you can rent a car, take a taxi or a bus. Taxis to the city run on a fixed fare. A scheduled bus to the city center can be boarded outside Units I & II.  If you need to transfer to Wilson Airport, the only transportation available is a taxi.

Present and future Airport Deveopments:  Construction on a new terminal has started late 2013 and is to handle three times as many passengers (or 22M a year). It will take up 178,000 sq. meters, have 50 international & 10 domestic check-in desks, 32 contact an 8 remote gates, an apron with 45 stands and linking taxiways, as wel as a railway terminal & a bus park.  Completion is tentatively scheduled for 2017.   As passenger traffic is forcasted to be 25M by 2025. 
Other projects include a redesign of the first 3 terminals, construction of a fourth terminal, an added runway, remote stands and busing gates.

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