Thousands of passengers are stranded at the four main airports in Kenya after a strike called by the aviation workers’ union forced the disruption of domestic and international flights.
About 60 flights failed to take-off at their scheduled time from Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, the busiest in East Africa. Other planes left without passengers.
The strike began at midnight local time, resulting in the withdrawal of fire engines from the runaway.
Security, check-in and baggage-handling staff also stopped working.
Flights have also been disrupted at airports in the tourist hub of Mombasa, and the cities of Eldoret and Kisumu in western Kenya.
The striking workers are opposed to a plan that would see the loss-making Kenya Airways taking over the management of airports from the profit-making Kenya Airports Authority (KAA).
The workers say the proposed take-over would put their jobs at risk.
An earlier report by the BBC said that tear gas had been fired at Kenya’s main airport.
According to the report, Police had used tear gas and batons to try and disperse striking workers at the main international airport in Kenya’s capital Nairobi, local media reports say.
A key figure in organising the strike, the Kenya Aviation Workers Union secretary-general Moss Ndiema, has also been arrested.
The government has condemned the strike as illegal, and says replacement workers would be brought in to normalise the situation.
The normally busy Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, was for hours at a virtual standstill due to a strike by workers opposed to a deal to take over the running of the facility, which is a regional hub.
Besides thousands of intending passengers being stranded at the Kenyan airport, the strike has also affected three other airports elsewhere in the country.