Aircraft exceeding seven tonnes that have been using Nairobi Wilson Airport, which sees mainly domestic traffic, may soon have to start operating from Nairobi Jomo Kenyatta instead following a series of accidents that have been blamed on congestion, the Daily Nation newspaper has reported.

The Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) told carriers based at Wilson on November 11 that from an as-yet-unspecified future date they will no longer be permitted to carry out repairs there.

Operators criticised the move, telling the newspaper that Jomo Kenyatta was equally congested and had no space to build hangars let alone make repairs. They complained that a move for carriers with MRO facilities at Wilson would inevitably mean extra costs, as they would have to rely on maintenance facilities owned by the likes of Kenya Airways, African Express Airways, and JetLink Express.

They would also have to acquire new operational offices at Jomo Kenyatta and conform with higher landing fees and other charges, they said.

Wilson has been plagued by incidents in recent weeks, prompting investigations by the KCAA. Most recently, Safarilink Aviation (F2, Nairobi Wilson) Cessna (single turboprop) 5Y-SLJ carrying 10 passengers veered off the runway following a tyre burst on arriving from Lamu on October 29, resulting in the airport being closed for 30 minutes.

On October 11, a Silverstone Air Services (K5, Nairobi Wilson) Fokker 50 suffered a runway excursion during take-off from Wilson. This, in addition to a Dash 8-300 belonging to Silverstone losing a tyre while taking off from Lodwar, led to the KCAA suspending the Kenyan regional carrier's Dash 8 operations on November 12 following an audit by the civil aviation authority.

Nairobi's Wilson Airport has two runways, 1,540-metre-long 14/32 and 1,462-metre-long 07/25. According to the ch-aviation capacities module of the ten airlines using Wilson, Safarilink and Silverstone are the largest operators.