THE emergency landing on Tuesday at the Hosea Kutako International Airport following a technical error about an hour after taking off towards the Robert Gabriel International Airport in Harare was “an appropriate and a noble one”, an Air Namibia official said.
Panic and mayhem shrouded passengers en route to Zimbabwe’s capital at the start of the week after the pilot announcement that the plane, which had left the Hosea Kutako International airport an hour earlier, would have to return due to technicalities experienced.
One such passenger, who took to her social media to explain the experience, said that upon landing, they were greeted by firetrucks and ambulances, questioning why the plane had not instead made the emergency landing in Gaborone or Lusaka, as it was the closer alternative.
Air Namibia Spokesperson, Paul Nakawa, said in an interview with Informanté that there are maintenance facilities for the Embraer Jet (ERJ) aircraft fleet in Windhoek and not in Gaborone.
“For precaution purposes, the Captain’s decision to turn back was a noble one as we do not have engineers in Gaborone as stated above. The Caption’s decision to return to Windhoek was appropriate, if a technical diversion is required. Fire trucks are put on standby at the airport if an emergency situation is declared or activated by the pilot. This is standard procedure as per industry practice and not a direct reflection of the seriousness of the emergency,” Nakawa added.
The passenger, who had to be in Harare to conduct workshops, added that they were booked in a Windhoek hotel for the night and informed that a flight to Harare would be made available the following day.
On Wednesday, however, the same passengers again boarded the same flight, but were again told to disembark the flight after the engines were switched on due to another technical problem.
Nakawa, however, insist that the technical faulty detected did not require any action.
“Whilst the passengers are in our care, we ensure that they are comfortable and safe as possible. Since this was a minor detection, the aircraft had to be checked by a certified engineer before it hits the skies again. Therefore, when an aircraft is repaired and declared serviceable again, it cannot be described as “the same faulty plane”. Aviation is a highly regulated industry and the safety of our passengers is at the heart of our operations,” Nakawa maintained.