Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
A foreign object absorbed by Air Zimbabwe’s Boeing 767-200ER on the left engine at take-off caused an engine surge resulting in the “brief” tail pipe fire, a probe by a team of the national airline’s engineers has established.
The probe was concluded yesterday, with pilots flying the aircraft as part of tests and measures to establish if there were any other outstanding challenges with the plane.
The engineers didn’t establish any further problems with the Boeing 767-200ER, which was expected back in the skies last night after being given a clean bill of health.
Critically, the engineers had replaced the left engine.
In a statement yesterday, the flag carrier said: “Air Zimbabwe wishes to inform the public that investigations into the incident on our Boeing 767-200ER (ZWPF) on April 28, 2019 have been completed.
“We can report that there was an engine surge on the aircraft as a result of a foreign object ingestion on the left engine, at take-off. This resulted in some brief sparks on the tail pipe and not an actual fire and these parks extinguished shortly afterwards.”
Air Zimbabwe said the pilot took all necessary precautions including checking all the parameters and concluded that there was no compromise or safety risk to the passengers and crew on board, hence the decision to proceed to Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, where the aircraft landed safely at 2035hrs.
Air Zimbabwe said mandatory test flights and checks have been successfully carried out.
Air Zimbabwe said it was committed to “strict adherence to all quality and safety standards, providing Zimbabwean hospitality in the skies”.
The Boeing 767-200ER experienced the problem on Sunday while on its way from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Harare.
The spine-chilling incident came within three days of yet another horror mid-air scare as the company’s Harare-bound flight hit birds in the skies last Friday from Bulawayo, resulting in sparks from the engine.
However, the flight landed safely at Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport.
It was carrying Cabinet ministers and their deputies and other passengers.
Air Zimbabwe’s operations are set for a major revamp in the coming few months as it begun taking delivery of fresh aircraft yesterday following the arrival of the Embraer ERJ 145.
The aircraft, which would be used on domestic and regional routes, is set to be launched in the next few days.
Air Zimbabwe also expects to take delivery of two Boeing 777-200ER acquired from Malaysia.
The aircraft would be deployed on long distance routes such as the Harare-London route, which is expected to be revived soon.