Why Kenya Airways plane from Nairobi was diverted in London

Friday October 13 2023
KQ plane

Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft as seen on final approach landing at London Heathrow International Airport in England, UK, on October 20, 2019. PHOTO | FILE | NMG


Police in the United Kingdom have confirmed that a Kenya Airways (KQ) flight from Nairobi was diverted from Heathrow to Stansted Airport in London on Thursday afternoon.

Kenya Airways flight KQ100 was diverted to London Stansted Airport, the designated alternate airport for security incidents.

The reason for the diversion is said to be a potential security threat, with local press reporting that bomb squads were seen rushing to the scene.

"We are currently attending an incident at #Stansted Airport. A flight from Nairobi to Heathrow has been diverted to Stansted this afternoon (October 12). The airport remains open," Essex Police said on X.

Read: Passenger dies aboard Kenya Airways flight

In a statement, the national airline confirmed that its KQ100 flight from Nairobi to London Heathrow "received an alert of a potential security threat".


“KQ Management in conjunction with the security authorities of Kenya and UK carried out a thorough risk assessment of the threat. The crew onboard were briefed, and all safety and security precautions were taken to ensure the safety and security of our crew and passengers on board,” a KQ statement read in part.

Flightradar24 data said that the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner departed Nairobi at 9:18 am, after a 13-minute delay. The aircraft was flying at 17,000 over the English Channel before descending as it travelled north along the east coast of Kent.

The aircraft continued to descend along the North Sea coast and began flying over Essex. It continued its descent onto Stansted, arriving at its designated stand by 14:52 local time (16:45 Kenyan time).

Daniel Rees, a reporter with The Gazette, took to X and described the ongoing situation saying that there was a huge police presence and witnesses told him that they had seen bomb disposal units en route to the airport.

“I had just passed Stansted and was heading towards Colchester. There were bomb disposal cars swerving in and out of traffic on the A120,” a witness told him.

The Guardian quoted a woman who posted on Facebook saying that: 'On a flight this morning from Nairobi to London Heathrow. Forty five minutes before we were due to land, we were told that we'd been diverted to Stansted. When we arrived in Stansted, loads of police cars,” she posted.

Read: Pilots report KQ in plane speeding row

“We’ve been surrounded by all the police. They've all got guns all dressed in black and are ID-ing us. Captain hasn’t even said anything,” she added.

An Essex County Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “Eight crews are in attendance at Stansted Airport. We are working with Essex Police and the airport to bring the incident to a successful conclusion.”

On Monday afternoon, another KQ flight from Nairobi to London landed at Heathrow Airport after an 'incident' after the pilot declared an emergency mid-air after a passenger suffered a “medical emergency”.

“KQ confirms that on Monday at approximately 14:19hrs, the KQ100, operating from Nairobi to London Heathrow, declared a medical emergency after a passenger fell ill,” said the airline.

The national carrier said the crew on board provided first aid to the passenger and the pilot opted to return to London for the passenger to receive further medical attention.

“The crew on board, supported by two medical doctors and a nurse, provided medical assistance to the passenger. The captain declared a medical emergency with Air Traffic Control (ATC) to expedite the landing for the passenger to receive further medical attention.”

“The aircraft landed safely at 14:47hrs and was received by medical personnel. The passenger was taken to hospital to receive further medical attention," it said.

The latest incident comes a day after it was announced that UK's King Charles III and his wife Queen Camilla will make a four-day state visit to Kenya at the end of October.