KENYAN Airways was on Monday forced to halt its evening flight from Harare to Nairobi after its plane suffered a bird strike.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
A bird strike occurs when it hits the engine of the aircraft and is not uncommon in aviation.
A bird strike is considered a safety hazard in the aviation industry and requires affected aircraft to be grounded until the issue is addressed.
Information obtained yesterday showed it was during take-off when the captain discovered that there was a problem with one of the engines.
The plane was shaking, causing commotion among the passengers. It was after it had landed that the captain informed passengers that the plan had developed some technical problems, a passenger told NewsDay yesterday.
Kenyan Airways country manager Vivian Ruwuya confirmed the incident, which resulted in 96 passengers being booked into the Tuesday flight.
The airline flies three times daily between Harare and Nairobi.
“It was not an engine difficulty, so I think the news you are getting is not correct
. . . basically, before take-off, there was a bird strike on the runway . . . if you have to write a report, which I doubt is necessary because it did not affect any other operations, we operate three flights a day into Harare and the other two came and were still able to assist with the uptake of the other passengers that were affected by that strike,” she said.
“It had a bird strike on that flight before it took off, where a bird flew into the engine, so it is not something that you can
Ruwuya said in such circumstances, safety regulations dictate that a plane affected by a bird strike should not fly and have its engines checked, hence the grounding of the plane.
She said the passengers were then accommodated by the airline into hotels and rebooked on the first flight that came the following morning (Tuesday).
“Yesterday (Tuesday), we had two other flights that came in and accommodated the passengers on those flights,” Ruwuya said, adding the airline respects passenger safety.
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) is investigating the mishap and yesterday met officials from Kenyan Airways.
“What we know is that it did not complete its journey to Nairobi because of some fault. I think it was an engine problem. The cause of that engine problem is what Kenya Airways and ourselves are investigating,” CAAZ chief executive officer David Chawota said.
He said that each airline had its own safety protocols which vary and CAAZ was still compiling a report from inspectors.
“Normally, it takes about 14 days for the minor incidents, but for larger incidents, it can take quite a while.”