Today in Transportation History – March 9, 1958: A New Airport for Kenya

A new airport made its debut in the Embakasi suburb of Nairobi in what was then the British Colony and Protectorate of Kenya. (British rule came to an end in 1963, with Kenya achieving its independence under a black majority government; the present-day Republic of Kenya was formally established the following year.) Sir Evelyn Baring, the British colonial governor of Kenya, substituted for England’s Queen Mother in officially opening Embakasi Airport during a Sunday ceremony. The mother of Queen Elizabeth II was supposed to perform the inaugural duties for the airport, but couldn’t make it to Kenya on time due to a plane delay en route from Australia.

The airport has since been renamed in honor of Jomo Kenyatta, who served as independent Kenya’s first president and prime minister. Jomo Kenyatta International Airport has scheduled flights to more than 50 countries and is one of the 10 busiest airports in all of Africa.

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