On April 17th, 2023, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi was temporarily closed following an incident involving a Singapore Airlines Cargo flight SQ7343 destined for Amsterdam.
The incident occurred when the Boeing 747-412F freighter (9V-SFO) suffered an engine failure during takeoff, leading to the aircraft’s rejection of the takeoff at high speed. As a result, the plane slowed and became disabled on the runway.
While the initial reports suggested a bird strike as the cause of the incident, further details emerged that confirmed that technical issues caused the aborted takeoff. The aircraft’s engine failure caused 11 out of 16 rear tires to explode, resulting in the temporary closure of the runway.
The process of removing the aircraft from the runway required the evacuation of 100 tonnes of cargo and the replacement of the damaged tires before it could be towed to safety. A technical team comprising Kenya Airports Authority (KAA), Kenya Airways (KQ), Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), and other stakeholders worked together to safely remove the aircraft from the runway, allowing for normal operations to resume.
UPDATE: The JKIA runway is now opened, & operations at the airport have resumed. Disabled aircraft has been cleared from the runway. 1/2
— Kenya Airports Authority (@KenyaAirports) April 17, 2023
The incident caused significant disruption to air travel at JKIA, with flights suspended until the runway was cleared.
Flights including Kenya Airways (KQ) from New York JFK were diverted to Entebbe International Airport in Uganda as the B747-400 remained on the active runway.
Passengers were advised to contact their respective airlines for the latest updates on the status of their flights. The resumption of flight operations was announced in a press release issued by KAA, expressing regret for the inconvenience caused by the incident.
This incident highlights underscores the importance of coordinated efforts by aviation stakeholders in managing such incidents, ensuring the safety of passengers and crew, and minimizing disruptions to air travel.