24 Mar Prepare NOW for The Same Type of Airport Security Nairobi’s International Airport has at Your Airport
Chances are the security procedures at Nairobi’s International Airport would have thwarted, or at least minimized the devastation at the airport in Brussels recently. Surprised to hear that are you? Let me explain.
First of all, many of the airports across Sub Sahara Africa are being upgraded or newly built. The first reason is the enormous economic growth in the region and therefore, the need for more capacity and modern airports to handle all of the new business and tourist traffic. Just two examples include Nairobi’s airport that has been under a total renovation project and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania will open later this year a sleek new, ultra modern international terminal (photo) that will rival any facility in the world. Yes, as I have communicated so many times in the past, if you want to see then newest and best of many, many things chances are a trip to Sub Sahara Africa will find most of those things.
Back to Nairobi’s airport. I fly in and out of Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) regularly. Not only is the airport undergoing a massive upgrading project, there has been an effort for years to get the USA and the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) arm to approve direct flights between Nairobi and the USA. Such flights would be initiated by Kenya Airways and start with flights to and from Atlanta, Georgia in the USA. Needless to say it has been a challenge for Kenya to meet the stringent TSA requirements but they are just about there and flights may begin within a few months.
That said, several months ago the entrance to JKIA was moved back to right off the exit from the Mombasa highway and about two kilometers from the previous entrance. This now makes the vehicle entrance at least 3 – 4 kilometers from the first terminal area.
At the new entrance point you now approach a massive and very modern construction that resembles the entrance to a toll road or toll bridge in any modern country. There are over a dozen lanes for both small vehicles and trucks. The numerous vehicles at peak times simply spill into the many lanes available. The lanes all proceed to a gated checkpoint. Trucks and other large vehicles must pass through special lanes that must then go through a large scanning device just for trucks / containers etc. While vehicles are in line for their particular gate there are police checking each vehicle before the vehicles reach their gate for final inspection.
Now here is the key. Only the vehicle drivers are allowed to remain in the vehicle through the gated checkpoint. All other vehicle occupants must get out of the vehicle and walk through a special security checkpoint where everyone goes through scanners. Then they wait for their vehicle to pull up and collect them after passing through the checkpoint / scanning for vehicles. So that is checkpoint number one just to get into the airport complex.
When you arrive at your terminal, the first thing you must do at the very entrance to the building is have all your luggage, and yourself, scanned. Therefore, you cannot get into the crowded terminal area without your luggage, or yourself being scanned. After you check in any luggage and receive your boarding pass you must go through another document security check and then immigration / passport control. Then, you go up an escalator to the actual terminal entrance where you pass through another comprehensive security checkpoint with all the modern scanners / gear and physical checks if necessary. You are then in the airport terminal and through all security checkpoints.
Most probably, Coming Soon, albeit via Africa, to an airport near YOU!