Fly540 aircraft forced to halt takeoff after tire is stuck in pothole - Beaking Kenya News

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Monday, 12 August 2019

Fly540 aircraft forced to halt takeoff after tire is stuck in pothole

A Fly540 plane with its left tyre stuck in a pothole
A Fly540 pilot was forced to stop taking off after realizing that one of the aircraft's tires was stuck in a pothole on the runway at Manda Airport in Lamu.

The 36 passengers scared aboard the plane bound for Nairobi landed during the Sunday incident at 12:30. No one was hurt.

The junior officials, who spoke to the nation on condition of anonymity because they are not allowed to speak to the media, said that engineers and other airport personnel had been called and had had to extract the left tire from the aircraft using shovels and jembes.

"The plane was about to take off, but it was a bit difficult. The pilot had to stop abruptly, especially after realizing that one of the aircraft's tires was stuck in a huge pothole on the runway. The engineers and the airport staff had to be called in and helped to push the plane and park it at a safer place on the runway, where it was finally able to take off safely, "said one official.

Manda Airport to Lamu. Calls have

Manda Airport to Lamu. Calls have intensified for the Kenya Airports Authority to improve the runway. PHOTO | KALUME KAZUNGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP


An eyewitness, Omar Mahmoud, said everything was fine with the plane taxiing on the runway, ready to take off.


"The problem appeared just a few seconds after the plane started to lift the wings to be ready to fly. We saw the tire on the left side stuck in a huge hole on the track. We thank God that the pilot acted quickly and shut down the engine. It was a scary moment, "said Mahmoud.




A Fly540 official who spoke to reporters at Manda airport said that checks were made later to ensure that the aircraft was in good condition after the incident.

"The plane had to take off at exactly 12:30, but the problem caused a delay. He took off at 12:54, once the checks were made to ensure that the incident did not create any other problem that could hinder the flight, "said the official.


Following Sunday's incident, travel agencies, tourism stakeholders and passengers asked KAA (Kenya Airports Authority) to urgently intervene to rebuild the runway at Manda airport.

IMPROVE

The airport was honored in 2017, when Kenya Airways low-cost airline Jambojet suspended flights due to poor working conditions.

At the time, Jambojet stated that the apron, taxiway and runway were in poor condition, making aircraft difficult to land or take off.



Aviation stakeholders said the airport's poor condition was putting lives at risk.

"We raised the issue of the poor condition of our airport, especially the runway, but the calls made over the years to rebuild it have not been successful. As we speak, the runway at the airport is covered with huge potholes that continue to pose a danger to navigation. Should we wait for a fatal accident to happen? They should do something, "said Lucy Kamau.

Mr. Ibrahim Abdalla, a tour guide, called for the expansion of the airport, stating that visits to Lamu have increased.

"The peak tourist season has already begun and the Manda airport seems to be overtaken by the growing number of carriers serving the area. It is best to rebuild and expand the airport and introduce operations 24 hours a day. Lamu is growing, "said Abdalla.

Efforts to get feedback from Manda's director of the airport, Dominic Ngigi, were unsuccessful as he hung up shortly after answering the call.

He also did not respond to SMS.

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