About JKIA Airport, Facts, and History  

JKIA is Nairobi’s largest airport in Kenya that is located at about 18 Kilometers (11 miles) from Nairobi’s Central Business District (CBD). Plans to construct the airport was started in 1953 and construction started a year later, in January 1954 and by Mid-March of 1958, the airport was officially opened. The location, Embakasi, was chosen because of its flat lava surface that stretches for at least 25 miles.  This guide is part of our Sub-Saharan Africa airport guides. We have other guides on Eldoret Airport, Lagos Airport, Kigali Airport, and Khartoum Airport, among others.

Queen Elizabeth’s mother was due to officially open the airport but was delayed by engine failure of Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation and she failed to attend the ceremony.  Sir Evelyne Berling opened this airport on 9th March 1958, about 5 years before Kenya attained its independence.  

Its original name, Embakasi Airport was named after its locality, Embakasi.  The name was changed to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on 14th March 1978 in honor of the first president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta. 

JKIA is a hub for four airlines namely: 

  1. Kenya Airways 
  2. Jumbo jet 
  3. Fly540 
  4. African Express Airways 

 Who Owns JKIA?

JKIA is fully owned by the government of Kenya (100%) and managed by a Kenya Airports Authority, a Kenyan government agency that manages all airports and airstrips in Kenya.  

JKIA Logo

JKIA Location/Google Maps/GPS address 

JKIA Website

JKIA’s official website is https://www.kaa.go.ke/airports/our-airports/jomo-kenyatta-international/ 

Below is an image of the website homepage: 

The airport also operates the following social media accounts: 

  • Twitter 
  • Facebook 

How big is JKIA, How many runways, 

JKIA has 6 terminals and one runway of 148 feet in width and 13​,507 ft length. In 2016. 

 JKIA Terminals

Terminal Mainly majors in Airlines 
1A International departures and arrivals It accommodates 2.5million passengers annually. Arrival area has 5baggage carousels It has 12departure gates   
1B International departures It has check-in counters Its security checkpoints leading to the departure lounge on level 1 Aspire airlines 
1C International departures Kenya Airways Simba airlines Turkish airlines 
1D Domestic flights Kenya Airways Jambojet
1E International arrivals  
Low-cost career airlines Original purpose was to decongest the other terminals  

JKIA Airport Images:  

Below is an image of JKIA’s entrance and beginning of boarding terminals sections of the airport.  

JKIA runway and parking 

Below is an image of JKIA’s check-in hall 

Below is an image of JKIA’s entrance for departures 

Here is JKIA’s parking for planes 

The main entrance to JKIA is located on Mombasa road. It is accessed through exit A109 

Passengers can use city bus route 34, taxis, and rental cars to travel in and out of the airport. 

JKIA security checks 

JKIA has introduced Stiff security measures to prevent terror attacks 

Vehicles are stopped at the entry points, occupants alight for frisking, and the vehicles are searched. 

There are 16security checkpoints at the entrances 

It is recommended for a passenger to arrive at the checkpoints 3hours before their departure time to avoid missing a flight. 

Weather at JKIA

 Considering the altitude of Nairobi, Kenya, the average weather trend at JKIA include shorter summers, warm and overcast with shorter winters, with average temperatures ranging between 54⁰F to 84⁰F.

 JKIA Codes

JKIA’s zip code is 0​ 0501 (or 00501) and it lies in Embakasi East constituency in Nairobi County, Kenya.  

ICAO code is HKJ​K and IATA code is NBO

 Smoking at KJIA

You want to smoke within the airport, visit smoking designated areas outside the terminals. You can find the areas after security which is next to gate 6 and a lounge by gate 6

JKIA Airport Facilities/Services

Services/Utilities   
Visa You can get a visa to Kenya on arrival at the airport or apply for it online using the e-visa website. Some countries are allowed to obtain visas on arrival while others cannot.
Airport Lounge/Where to nap/VIP Lounge There are lounges available to travelers boarding a flight departing from JKIA VIP lounges are the Pride lounge and the Simba lounge. 
Lost and Found  In case you lose any of your items, you can check with the lost and found office at the JKIA arrival Building
Baggage Claim/Luggage/Luggage storage There is short- and long-term storage availability at the airport. If you want to use the facility you are required to fill in documentation and provide your passport as a sign of disclaimer. For baggage claim, you are simply required to provide your id and provide the receipt for payment of the services offered by the facility.
Sim Card  There are operators of selling sim cards without subscriptions and Kenya being 3G network access, there are operators that sell 3G USB sticks for cheap and fast internet access.
ATMs  Holders of credit cards-visa, MasterCard can withdraw money from ATMs ATM’s distribute Kenyan notes. Bank branches include National bank Transnational bank, Barclays Kenya, Standard chartered bank
Duty-Free Shops /duty-free liquor/electronics​ store There are many duty-free shops and stores available in the airport located in the international duty-free area as well as the main halls of departures and arrivals and they offer a wide range of products. 
Airport Cafes/Food/ restaurants There are bars and restaurants located in the airport that is operated independently and by Servair Kenya located in the boarding areas and the main hall.
Post office  There is a Postal Corporation of Kenya office located in the airport where you can send letters, postcards, and parcels.
Airport Live CamThere are strategized cameras where you can view live flight arrivals and departures, flight status and listen to live traffic radio.
Medical ServicesThe airport offers medical services in case of health emergencies and there is a 24 hours operational pharmacy.

JKIA Airport Delays  

 There are different cases where flights can be delayed or canceled. Weather conditions that affect the vision of the pilot will be one reason to delay or cancel a flight. You can always check with your airline to see if your flight is affected.

How to Check Arrivals to Airport Today at JKIA

You can check arrival status from the site www.kaa.go.ke/arrivals 

Transport to Destinations from JKIA  

DestinationHow to get there 
City Center /Downtown CBD is 4km from JKIA and you can use a bus, regular taxis, or ride-hailing cabs (Uber, Taxify). It takes 30 minutes without traffic and up to 2 hours with traffic. Roads are busy/have a lot of traffic from 3 pm in the afternoon to 8 pm.  
Maasai Mara Masai Mara is approximately 317 kilometers from JKIA. You can use road transport through Narok County which will take 6 hours or take a direct flight which takes 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Giraffe Manor Giraffe Manor is located 26.9 kilometers away from the airport. Take a taxi and use Mombasa road A104 and Langata road.
Westlands  Westlands is located 19.6 kilometers away from the airport. You can use a taxi, bus shuttle or town car which will take approximately 35 minutes.
Arusha Shuttle  Take Impala shuttle buses which will take approximately six hours from Nairobi to Arusha 
Mombasa You can take a direct flight which will take approximately 1 hour and 5 minutes or uses a shuttle bus which will take approximately 8 hours. The SGR train will take you 4 hours 30 minutes from Nairobi to Mombasa
Kilimanjaro Book a Nairobi Kilimanjaro shuttle which is way straightforward, take a taxi to the city center, travel from Nairobi to Arusha. Take a local taxi from Moshi to Kilimanjaro.
Amboseli National Park Take a bus from JKIA to the city center, book a bus from Nairobi to Namanga which takes approximately 2 hours 30 minutes. Take a taxi from Namanga to Amboseli National Park which will take you approximately 2 hours 18 minutes.
Serengeti Take a bus from JKIA to the city Center, book a bus from Nairobi to Sirare, and will take you approximately 7 hours 15 minutes. Book a taxi or uber from Sirare to Serengeti which will approximately take 3 hours 17 minutes.
Karen Take a bus from the Airport Town stage to Kencom which will take you 1 hour. Walk from Kencom to Ambassadors. Take a bus to Karen which will take you approximately1 hour 26 minutes.
Train station Take a bus from the Airport Town Stage to Bus Station which will take you approximately 58 minutes. Walk for approximately six minutes to the train station.
Lake Nakuru Take a bus from Airport Town Stage to the Salvation Army. Walk for six minutes to the Accra road stage, take a shuttle from Nairobi to Naivasha. Take a taxi from Naivasha to Lake Nakuru which will take you approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.
Nairobi National Park Take a taxi, uber or town car directly from JKIA to Nairobi National Park which is 37.2 kilometers away and will take you approximately1 hour 7 minutes
Diani Beach Take a flight from Nairobi to Mombasa which will take approximately 50 minutes, take a drive to the ferry in Mombasa to Likoni. From Likoni, take a taxi to Diani Beach.
Eka Hotel Walk from JKIA to Tuskys which is 1.9 kilometers stretch, take a bus from Tuskys to Belleview. Walk 65 meters and you are at the Eka Hotel.
RuiruTake a bus from the Airport Town stage to Bus Station. Walk to the main stage and book a shuttle to Ruiru.

Hotels Near JKIA

Name of Hotel Distance from Airport Do they pick clients from the airport? Average review on trip advisor Average Review Rating on www.booking.com 
Hilton garden inn 9km yes Rating: 4.5/5-358 reviews Rating: 8.8/10-384 reviews 
Easy hotel Kenya 5.5km   Rating: 7.6/10-418 reviews 
Crown plaza Nairobi airport 1.6kkm yes Rating: 4.4/5 –824 reviews Rating: 8.8/10-384 reviews 
Winstonia hotel 2.63km no Rating: 3.9/5-48 reviews Rating: 4.6/10-7 reviews 
Nairobi transit lounge 2.4km  Rating: 4.0/5-117 reviews Rating: 7.5/10-29 reviews. 
Hotel Nairobi airport Sheraton 2.4km  Rating: 4.5/5-2790 reviews Rating: 6.1/10-515 reviews 
Hotel 67 9.1 km yes Rating4.5/5-1851 reviews Rating: 7.4/10- 439 reviews 
Best western plus meridian hotel 18.1km  Rating: 4.5/5-834 reviews Rating 8.5/10- 2041 reviews 
Pride inn azure Nairobi hotel 21.8km yes Rating: 4.0/5-495 reviews  

Destinations Made by JKIA 

Working with the 2018 statistics, JKIA serves 7,039,175 passengers making 92,000 aircraft movements. With this data, the JKIA handles 126 passengers’ flights to 63 destinations working with 32 scheduled airlines

JKIA Lounges

I January 2015, two lounges were opened located on the second floor of terminal 1A namely, Simba Lounge and Pride Lounge which has a combined capacity of 350 people. For Elite status and paid pass travelers there are two lounges, Turkish Airline TAV lounge and the Swissport Aspire Lounge, which are regular for you to access.

JKIA Jobs

There are a great range of job opportunities in JKIA depending on qualifications and labor demand. You can check some available vacancies on www.jobsinkenya.com/jkia 

JKIA at Night

JKIA Attachment and Internships

JKIA offers attachment and internships opportunities which provides the students and undergraduates an opportunity to familiarize with operations of the airport and job market in the aviation industry.

JKIA Duty Free

There are many available duty-free shops in the airport that offers a wide range of services and products. Duty free shops at JKIA include Maya Duty Free (+254208824521), Kenya Wines Agency Limited (+254-208530566), Kenya Duty Free (+254208824891), Rono Ltd Siamanda, Glamour House Duty Frees shop and many others around.

JKIA Customs and Immigration

There is an option of use of eVISA advanced technology in clearance at the JKIA. This will greatly reduce the custom clearance hassle at the airport. In custom clearance, there will be security checks, weighing and inspection of outgoing baggage and check in.

JKIA Layover

During longer layovers at the JKIA, there are a lot of activities you can do to make it worth the stay. You can experience the life size animals from every angle. The imprints have a variety of animals around the airport on the windows and as you look up the ceiling. 

You can also learn about the Kenyan Community through art which is reflected through art. There are a lot of art pieces around the airport that depicts the local culture of Kenyans to take a look at.

You can opt for some relaxations and re-energizing spa treatment with the wide range of outlets to choose from. There is also an option of recharging your spirits and your devices at the lounges at the airport while surfing the net. You can also deice to have a great safari at the airport.

JKIA Ground Transportation 

There are different agencies around the airport that provides travelers with affordable, reliable, friendly service which are of great quality. There are taxi transfer services with experienced drivers. The airport operates a large fleet of passengers and luggage and hence there is provision of taxis, premium Sedan, luxury buses and a number of minibuses. There are options where you can book and have a universal meet up with your driver.

JKIA Parking

There are several parking options at JKIA located around the airport terminals with options depending on the type of vehicle and duration of parking. 

ParkingPrice in KES
P5 which offers long durations700KES for 24 hours
P3 short durations, maximum 12 hours70KES for 1 hour, 90KES for 2 Hours, 100KES for 2-4 hours, 4-6 hours 130KES, 6-8 hours for 180KES and 8-12 hours for 200KES
P1, P6, P* short and long durations1hour for 60KES, 2 hours for 80KES, 2-4 hours for 90KES, 4-6 hours for 120KES, 6-8 hours for 180KES, 8-12 hours for 200KES and 11-24 hours for 200KES
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