Case Study (Airports)

Flood-Free Airports Spell Success for the Whole Country

Nairobi made a difference in the lives of its people when it decided to protect is airport from flooding

Airports are sometimes regarded as a mirror to the country’s image. Of all places, here is where tourists land first before they explore whatever attractive sites a country has to offer. There is no doubt why some countries spend too much on their airports.

Thus, it is justifiable that when airports are threatened by natural calamities flooding, governments will go to great lengths just to have it protected. For all they know, the solution to flooding threats is not as difficult as most people expect.

Situational Background of the Flooding Incident at the Kenya Airports Authority

The Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) is “the largest air freight service provider in Africa”. It was established in 1991 to manage all airports in the country.

KAA is located in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and largest city. Though KAA oversees the affairs of at least 11 air terminals (airports and air strips), its headquarters sit on the premises of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, formerly known as the Nairobi Airport.

The airport authority is located in the middle of a sprawling terrain. The Nairobi River flows along this vast terrain, and branches out to many tributaries.

Unlike other places’ vast river systems, Nairobi River is often described as “narrow” and oftentimes polluted. The size of the river and its congested state makes it insufficient to gather a large volume of rainwater.

When heavy rains beset Nairobi, there is always a tendency for flooding to occur. This is because the city lacks a drainage system, whether natural or man-made, that can handle the volume of rainwater.

Devastating Flooding Episode that Affected the KAA

In 2015, Flood Control International says, heavy rains hit Nairobi and the resulting flood devastated establishments, including the KAA’s Nairobi International Airport (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport). Among the most affected facilities in KAA was the African Freight Services. X-ray machines used to scan baggages, electrical installations and other sets of mechanical equipment were almost rendered useless after the flooding.

Perhaps, the most devastating effect this flooding incident had on KAA was the damages to sets of material handling equipment. These sets of equipment were used to transfer baggages, both imported and exported, to places in the airport. No doubt, these damaged sets of equipment caused delays in the operations of the African Freight Services.

Flood Protection Goal

A vast stretch of buildings and terminals required protection that could cater to the special nature of the airport. The flood defenses were designed not to hinder but to facilitate the movement of people and materials inside the airport.

Flood Control International sent a five-man team to Nairobi. This team installed the flood barriers, 36 pieces in all, to entrances that could serve as entry points of floodwater.

All flood barriers had a height of 1.20 meters. The longest had a length of about 15.00 meters. In spite of their massive dimensions, the flood barriers were designed to be light – just enough for a single-person operations.

Fast Facts on Kenya Airports Authority’s Protection against Flooding

Name of the Institution

Kenya Airports Authority (KAA)


Nairobi, Kenya

Cause of Flooding

Nairobi has a river system, but its size is not enough to redirect floodwater from the streets into the ocean.

Risks to Facilities Brought by Flooding

  • Sets of equipment, especially the materials handling devices, were damaged because of a flooding incident in 2015.
  • Because of these damages, the operations of the African Freight Service were disrupted.

Applied Flood Protection

RS Demountable Flood Barriers (36 pieces, each with a height of 1.20 meters)

Other Flood Control Solutions Successfully Applied

You can have the same total flood protection these facilities enjoy through the RS Demountable Flood Barriers.

quality product - made in germany

Flood Control Asia’s RS Demountable Barriers has passed the rigorous testing of FM Global. This testing and certification ensures that a product will work and perform as intended. FM Approvals uses scientific research and testing to make sure products conform to the highest standards for safety and property loss prevention. Products that pass get the “FM APPROVED” mark.

quality product - made in germany

German products have an outstanding reputation throughout the world. Germany is a country that relies on high quality standards, research, and the education of specialised professionals. RS Stepanek KG’s longstanding experience in producing barriers, combined with state-of-the-art technologies, guarantees the high-quality Flood Control Systems.

german cooperation

German Development Cooperation funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) offers customized solutions to complex challenges. An experienced service provider and assist the German Government in achieving its objectives in the field of international cooperation.