Preparation for a flight to Nairobi begins with Kenyan entry requirements. Crewmembers and passengers require visas, but the former do not have to apply for them in advance and may obtain them on arrival. To qualify for this service, crewmembers must be in uniform attire, present official crew IDs, and arrive and leave on private aircraft. Most nationalities qualify for this policy, but there are some that do not — check country AIPs to determine which ones.
Meanwhile, passengers should apply for their visas in advance of the flight. General Declarations will be necessary for all aircraft occupants, and passengers and crew arriving from countries where yellow fever is present must carry valid yellow fever inoculation cards.
Landing permits are required, as well, with the minimum lead time of 72 hr. “We tend to apply for them through a local agent for faster service,” Jeppesen's Meyer said. “Going directly to the Kenyan Civil Aviation Authority is not recommended, as the agency is not always that responsive. On the other hand, they can surprise you and issue one in flight on quick notice, as they did recently for one of our clients.” All this applies to tech stops as well.
Situated on a plateau in southern Kenya, Nairobi has one airport capable of accommodating modern jet aircraft, the aforementioned Jomo Kenyatta International, elevation 5,327 ft. The field has only one runway, 6/24, which at 13,507 ft. in length can handle summertime density altitude surges. The airport is operational 24/7 and slots are not required. There are no noise restrictions or curfew. Nor are there any FBOs, but five handling companies are based there, and any of them can arrange fueling.
“Fuel is major brands,” Meyer said. “We recommend prearranging fueling with your handler to ensure promptness when you arrive. Fuel availability is never a problem, and our clients have had minimal problems operating in and out of Kenyatta.”
Meyer described the arrival procedure. “The ground handler will have used your schedule for booking a parking allocation covering the duration of your stay. There are two sections where they can park you. If you do not require fuel, they will send you to Apron 1 and, generally, leave you there until departure. Other options where you could wind up are Parking Bays 12 through 20.”
On the other hand, if the operator does need fuel, the aircraft is directed to a bay between 12 and 18 equipped with fueling hydrants. “They do not use trucks,” Meyer said. “We recommend fueling on arrival; you should arrange it in advance; however, the pilot can request it from ATC, but if the apron is full, you will have to park, then reposition to a fueling area before departure.”
Once the aircraft is secured, a handling agent meets the crew while other agents assist the passengers into the airline terminal for customs clearance. “So everyone will be escorted,” Meyer said. “You will walk to the terminal or be transported there — most of the time the walk is short. If the terminal is crowded, arrangements will have been made ahead of time by the agents to take the passengers directly to the head of the line at the counter.”
Meanwhile, baggage will follow the passengers and be x-rayed. The entire customs clearing process takes between 15 and 25 min. “The agents will liaise with the passengers' sponsor or representative in Nairobi in advance to arrange transportation and where it will meet the passengers,” Meyer said. “The same arrival process will apply to the crew — they will follow the passengers. You will need both inbound and outbound GenDecs listing the normal details on crew, passengers and aircraft.”
When it's time to depart, handling agents can meet the crew and passengers at the hotel and accompany them to the airport to coordinate services. “In this case,” Meyer pointed out, “all the luggage will go through a business-class check at the Kenyan Airways counter, and the handler will deliver the bags to the aircraft.” For security purposes, passengers are asked to identify their bags at the aircraft.