25 Aug 2015 16:30pm
KATIMA MULILO, 25 AUG (NAMPA) A Windhoek-bound Air Namibia flight from Katima Mulilo Airport with an unspecified number of passengers on board, was forced to abort take-off due to serious engine problems on Monday.
According to information provided to Nampa by some of the affected passengers, those on board all had to be evacuated from the plane immediately after it failed to take off and leave the airports runway, allegedly due to an engine failure.
The incident occurred at 17:00, just an hour after the plane had landed from Windhoek to pick up passengers who had been waiting after checking in at 12:00.
Departure times from Katima Mulilo are 13:35 on Mondays and Fridays, and 12:40 on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Katima Mulilo Urban Constituency councillor, Bernard Sibalatani said the passengers were all taken aback by the pilots announcement that plane was no longer taking off as destined due to one of the engines failing to start.
Sibalatani alleged sketchy information that spread around the airport was that the same plane had been delayed from taking off in Windhoek because it was getting fixed from 09:00 to 15:00 on a similar problem it faced when it landed in the Zambezi Region.
It is a total inconvenience. Many of the passengers plans have been derailed. How can Air Namibia send a malfunctioning plane to pick up passengers? It is risky because the same flight was sent to Katima Mulilo, without an engineer on board.
Right up until today (Tuesday), we still have not been informed if another plane is on its way from Windhoek, to pick us up or that we still have to wait more days for the malfunctioned plane to be fixed at the airport, Sibalatani said.
Linyanti Constituency councillor, Cletius Sipapela told Nampa of his disappointment saying he will take up the issue with the Ministry of Works and Transport so they can task Air Namibia by doing away with old and broken planes to pick up passengers.
Safety is foremost before anything else. It is dangerous to fly passengers on planes that have not been tested properly after getting fixed. It is an inconvenience that could have been avoided with all due caution, Sipapela said.
Sipapela said most of the passengers were booked into a local hotel at 18h00, at a cost to be incurred by Air Namibia.
Attempts to get comments from officials at the Zambezi regional Air Namibia offices proved futile as they referred all queries to their Head of Corporate Communication, Paul Nakawa, who said he was attending an Executive Committee (EXCO) meeting and would revert back to Nampa when it is concluded.