Kenya Airways Flight 478 enroute to Rwanda this morning faced two aborted landing attempts, primarily attributed to adverse weather conditions in Kigali.

The inclement weather has prompted numerous airlines to divert their flights to alternate airports, causing a strain on airline resources.

The early morning flight encountered patches of dense fog surrounding Kigali, significantly reducing visibility and compelling the crew to initiate a return to Nairobi.

Despite an improvement in weather conditions in Kigali, the aircraft, a Boeing 737-800 operating as KQ478, made a second landing attempt but was thwarted by visibility levels below the minimum required for a safe landing.

Consequently, the carrier opted to return to its home base at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Kenya Airways (KQ) highlighted that these turnbacks have exerted a severe impact on the airline, resulting in reactionary delays and necessitating additional care for inconvenienced passengers.

Furthermore, the repeated disruptions extend the crew’s operational hours, often surpassing established flight hour limits.

“After weather conditions improved in Kigali, they attempted another landing, but visibility remained below the minimum required for a safe landing, leading to their return to Nairobi. Consequently, the crew exhausted their allotted hours,” explained KQ Chief Executive Officer Allan Kilavuka in a statement to Business Day Africa.

Rwanda has experienced persistently adverse weather over the past few weeks, causing delays for numerous inbound flights to Kigali.

Similar weather challenges have been observed in Entebbe, compelling many flights to seek alternative landing airports.

At JKIA, both Rwandair and Kenya Airways have been forced to delay their scheduled departures to Kigali due to the unfavorable weather conditions prevailing in the neighboring landlocked nation.

Data from Flight tracker Flightradar24 illustrates the magnitude of the issue, with dozens of flights unable to land this morning due to extreme weather conditions.

The ongoing weather challenges in the region are contributing to a complex operational environment for airlines, necessitating strategic adjustments and heightened passenger care measures.

gandae@businessdayafrica.org