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SAA suspends evening flights

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SOUTH African Airways (SAA) has rescheduled its evening flight from Johannesburg to Harare because of poor lighting on the Harare International Airport runway.Report by Acting Business Editor

It emerged last night that an official from SAA was in the country last Friday to assess the lighting system and indicated the need for the adjustment of the Precision Path Indicator (PAPI).

A PAPI is a visual aid that provides guidance information to help a pilot acquire and maintain the correct approach (in the vertical plane) to an aerodrome or an airport. It is generally located beside the runway, approximately 300 metres beyond the landing threshold of the runway.

SAA’s daily 19:40hours flight has been brought forward to 16:20hours to take advantage of natural light.

Sources in Johannesburg told NewsDay that SAA pilots had remained adamant that they would not fly in the evening until the situation was attended to.

“SAA has not been flying its evening flight for over a week as a result of the concern by its pilots on runway lighting,” one of the sources said.

Last week SAA cancelled the evening flights from Johannesburg citing poor lighting on the runway at Harare International Airport.

Efforts to get a comment from SAA were unsuccessful last night as the airline had not yet responded to emailed questions.

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive officer David Chawota confirmed the coming of an official from SAA to carry out the assessment.

“An official from SAA came in last Friday. From a lighting point of view, there is a Precision Approach Path Indicator, a landing aid that requires adjustment,” said Chawota.

He said the authority was hoping that SAA would revert to its normal flying times soon.

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