1time’s planes to be inspected

2012-08-22 00:00

THE South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) is to inspect 1time Airline’s planes after one of their aircraft undertook its second emergency landing at King Shaka International Airport in three weeks after again experiencing engine difficulties on Monday.

Flight T6 647, which departed Cape Town at 2.30 pm on Monday arrived in Durban at 4.14 pm after experiencing engine difficulties at the top of the descent into Durban, the airline said in a statement.

Kerry-Lee Rouse, who was a passenger on the flight, described the horror on her Facebook page. “It was horrible. The left hand side engine failed half way back! Loud BANG and then silence! Horrible! I dnt know if I would go again! I’m really scared! (sic)” she said.

She shared her joy at receiving a complimentary ticket: “Thanks 1Time for the Free Flights! Now I can go back and see my son BUT if u dnt mind, I would really prefer it if all ur engines functioned the whole way ind I did not have to face the prospect of dying! (sic).”

Airline spokesperson Refilwe Masemola said that during cruising altitude of 35 000 feet, cockpit indicators on the McDonnell Douglas (MD80) aircraft revealed that the left hand engine had experienced technical problems.

“… The captain opted not to restart the engine as a safety precaution and landed the aircraft safely and ahead of schedule,” she said.

Masemola confirmed that it was the same aircraft that had to perform an emergency landing at King Shaka International, forcing the airport to shut down for three hours earlier this month.

The plane suffered engine failure, again, but this time it was a different engine, she said.

Masemola told The Witness yesterday that the incident — which happened a mere three weeks after the first one — was a “fluke occurrence”.

She said the airline’s aeroplanes were serviced regularly.

The airline was trying to manage the level of impact the incident would have, but they didn’t think it would lead to a drop in passengers.

“We have loyal customers that take care of us because we take very good care of them,” said Masemola.

The airline’s CEO Blacky Komani said safety is 1time’s “first and foremost priority”.

“We will never compromise our passengers, crew or aircraft.

“... We assure passengers that incidents such as these are considered to be very serious and we will work effortlessly to establish the cause of the problem,” he said.

Airport communications manager Colin Naidoo said operations at the airport were not disrupted as a result of the plane’s engine failure. He said the plane landed safely and there was no need for emergency personnel to be on standby.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s Marie Bray told The Witness yesterday that the airline’s planes will undergo an inspection today.

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