Team Kenya's flight to Moscow grounded after fuel pump hitch at JKIA

By evelyn watta
Aug 05, 2021
  • Kenyan athletes train at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani. The team did not leave as scheduled on Monday for Moscow.(Photo by Shutterspeed)

A jet fuel-pump hitch at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has paralyzed operations that forced the cancellation of team Kenya’s scheduled travel to Moscow on Monday evening.

“We have been waiting at the departure lounge since 3pm until now (9pm) when we were told that we are being taken to a hotel. We shall be advised from there what next, but for now it is not clear when the team can leave,” said Athletics Kenya Public relations officer, Evans Bosire who was part of the contingent of 43 at the Airport.

The World athletics championships begin on August 10.

The Kenyan team had been booked for travel aboard an Emirates(EK)  flight 720 to Dubai at 4.20pm and connect to Russia at 10am on Tuesday but after a seven hour wait at the Airport the team was moved to a hotel in the city.

The three full days of training in Moscow was meant to help the team acclimatize to the sweltering summer heat in the Russian capital, after their three-weeks residential camp at the Moi international Sports center, Kasarani, in rather chilly conditions.

The technical issue could futher delay team Kenya's arrival in Moscow depending on the availabilty of their connecting flight in Dubai.

A source at the Kenya Airports Authority, KAA who is not authorized to speak on behalf of the company confirmed to that there were indeed flight delays and cancellations at JKIA that had grounded EK 720, following an ‘airlock within the pumping system’.

This means no fuel can be pumped between the fuel reserve tanks and the planes, and due to the high risk involved the option of fueling directly from the oil tankers is out of question.

If it the malfunction is not sorted the short term solution would be to send the planes to Mombasa and Kisumu airports to fuel from there.

Kenya Pipeline Company, KPC, which handles the entire fuel system at the Airports, could not be reached for comments. The top brass of the Oil company was suspended in May following nepotism allegations.