Kenya Airways explains Mogadishu flight diversions due to adverse weather



Kenya Airways has explained the recent week-long diversions of its flights to Mogadishu, citing adverse weather conditions over Somalia as the primary cause. Since May 24, 2024, flights have faced stronger-than-usual tailwinds, making it unsafe to land at Aden Adde International Airport.

“Since May 24, 2024, due to adverse weather activities over Somalia, a few of our flights into Mogadishu have experienced stronger-than-usual tailwinds that have made it impossible to land the aircraft safely,” KQ said. “As a safety precaution, our crew have opted to divert back to Nairobi, following strict safety protocols and always ensuring the comfort and safety of our customers.”

Ahmed Moalim Hassan, Director of the Somali Civil Aviation Authority, confirmed that wind blowing from the sea posed significant landing challenges. “It was difficult for these planes to land at Mogadishu airport due to the wind blowing from the sea. They refused to land from the city side when there is wind. So this activity is related to the weather,” Hassan told the BBC Somali Service.

Kenya Airways did not use the alternative runway approach over the city until Mogadishu airport authorities addressed security and safety concerns. “We can confirm that the airport authorities in Mogadishu have since addressed this, and we will be able to land the aircraft safely,” KQ said.

Hassan noted that while other airlines, such as Turkish Airlines, faced similar issues, their long-standing operations in Mogadishu allowed them to adapt better. “Other planes have faced similar issues. For instance, a Turkish Airlines plane also had difficulties. Their leaders came to us, and we discussed how the wind in Mogadishu changes every year. They agreed that their planes should not land from the seaside and instead approach from the city side,” Hassan said.

Kenya Airways, which recently resumed flights to Mogadishu in February, expects to overcome these initial challenges with increased experience. Aden Adde Airport has two approach routes: from the seaside and the city side. Most airlines prefer the sea route for its open and direct path, which offers a safety buffer if emergency landings are needed. “Airplanes prefer the seaside because it is open and direct, without buildings, and the water provides a safety buffer if the plane has to make an emergency landing. So they favour that side for these benefits,” Hassan added.