ANOTHER NEAR MISS AS CHARTERED AIRCRAFT FORCED TO RETURN TO JUBA
Reports from Juba International Airport by a regular source from there have confirmed information obtained through other channels yesterday, that indeed another plane, carrying a minister in the Juba government was forced to return within minutes of leaving the airport for the town of Aweil in Northern Bahr el Ghazal state. A number of additional ministry officials were on board with the minister and escaped with a scare, when leaving the plane on the tarmac as it had landed in Juba to ascertain the nature of the problem.
Incidents of this nature, including a series of minor and major incidents, have become seemingly common in Southern Sudan as operators appear to lack sharp safety oversight due to a lack of sufficient competent personnel being available at this time, as the country nears its first anniversary of Independence on July 09th this year.
The incident is being investigated to establish if faulty maintenance was to blame for what was described as a mechanical failure or if an error by the pilot may have been responsible.
Many aircraft now operating from Juba across South Sudan are leased from neighbouring countries from operators which are out to make a quick buck and a series of mishaps have cast doubt over the standards applied in terms of oversight and regular checks by safety inspectors.
A few months ago a UN chartered plane had a crash landing and at the end of March a Feeder Airline plane had a landing mishap as it has been put at the time at the Wau airfield, causing extensive hull and undercarriage damage but no loss of life. Considering the aviation safety record the previously united Republic of the Sudan had, this seems to have come home to roost in South Sudan too, making it all the more important to improve all aspects of regulatory oversight now that the new country is the latest member of ICAO, the global aviation watchdog body. Watch this space for regular and breaking news from Eastern Africas aviation scene.
Archive for June 1st, 2012
ANOTHER NEAR MISS AS CHARTERED AIRCRAFT FORCED TO RETURN TO JUBA
BRUSSELS AIRLINES LAUNCHES NEW YORK FLIGHTS
Flights leaving East Africa last night on Brussels Airlines will today for the first time be able to connect on a Brussels Airlines flight to New York, aka the Big Apple, as the airline launches its inaugural flights to JFK on the 01st of June.
Long operated in code share with partner Continental, a cooperation which incidentally continues to offer additional choices for Star Alliance passengers, SN will as of today offer travelers from the United States access to one of the most extensive Africa networks from Brussels available to international passengers with a final destination in West and East Africa.
Advertised and marketed for the past few months, East Africans in turn can now reach New York with a short transit stop in Brussels using the airline on both sectors, and they will be delighted to find a new Airbus A330-200 with the latest cabin product and inflight entertainment being used on the route to JFK, offering enhanced comfort while in the air. Brussels Airlines has already announced that their entire fleet of A330 aircraft will be retrofitted with the new seats and features and be available on all services to Africa from about September this year onwards.
For now it is Happy Landings to the inaugural flight and the crew and passengers on board. Visit www.brusselsairlines.com for more information on the range of African destinations and connecting flights into the airlines European network out of Brussels.
Lashley Pulsipher, the Dubai based Kempinski Hotels Regional Director of Public Relations for the Middle East and Africa, will be in Nairobi in 10 days time to hold a media briefing on the progress of the upcoming Kempinski Villa Rosa Nairobi on June 12th, at a venue and time still to be announced.
While no opening date has been announced as yet, Lashley is expected to provide details on that issue too when she meets and briefs the local and regional media representatives, besides giving the hard facts on the new hotels services and facilities but also Kempinskis planned luxurious tented safari camp on a private conservancy adjoining the world famous Masai Mara.
The luxury hotel group is known to be keen on expanding their presence in Africa and after the grand opening in March of the Kempinski Seychelles Resort on the main island of Mahe at the site of the former Plantation Club has now set eyes on opening their Kenya properties.
Watch this space for upcoming additional information, in particular the proposed opening dates for what is expected to become one of Nairobis new flagship luxury hotels. Visit www.kempinski.com for more information.
The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority has just announced the date for the next licensing hearing for Thursday, the 05th of July, commencing at 11.30 hrs (a.m.) at the Imperial Royale Hotel in the heart of Kampala. The licensing committee will be hearing a disappointing 8 applications only, one for the renewal of Asante Aviations existing license operating non scheduled passenger and cargo air services with a Cessna 208 Caravan and 7 new applications.
Interesting here is the application by the Kampala Aero Club and Flight Training Centre, in short known as KAFTC for the start of scheduled services within Uganda, proposing to use their C206, C210, C208 Grand Caravan and Twin Otter aircraft, depending on demand. This announcement, now that the public notice has been served for all applications to be known ahead of the meeting for the purpose of filing written objections, has already caused a stir in the market as both the business community but especially the tourism fraternity has renewed hope of being able to fly places by buying a seat rather than having to charter the entire plane.
The remaining 6 new applications include a vague propositions by Skyline Air of Entebbe to provide leasing and / or operate aviation services with ancient AN 17, AN 26, AN 32, IL76 and, better believe that, an equally ancient L1011 aircraft, having aviation analysts in Uganda shake their combined heads. Equally has Almiron Aviation applied for a license to operate non scheduled cargo services, also with an ancient L1011. Phoenix Aviation from Nairobis Wilson airport joins the throng with their application for non scheduled passenger and cargo operations using their fleet of BE20, C550 and MD88 aircraft. The remaining applicants are made up by Aerolink (U) wanting to introduce a C208 Caravan for scheduled and non scheduled charter operations, Khalid Air proposing to use ancient DC9 aircraft, amongst others, for non scheduled passenger and cargo services out of Entebbe and SKA Air and Logistics seeking an air services license to start up with F 28 andF70, amongst other aircraft types, for scheduled and non scheduled passenger and cargo services.
Readers will have noticed that of the 7 new applications several are proposing to use aged and ancient aircraft types, raising the questions just how they will make ends meet financially if granted an ASL and in fact then reaching the stage of attaining an Air Operator Certificate from the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, for which much more stringent requirements must be met, including financial viability and evidence of sufficient capital to sustain at least a year of operation. That however, with current aviation fuel prices hovering at near record highs, will be a challenges when using aviation stone age fuel guzzlers in an age, when noise and air pollution becomes an ever greater issue for aviation regulators and global watchdog ICAO.
Watch this space and expect a hearing review from the days proceedings in early July.