Submit Press release  · eTN Team ·  Advertising  ·  eTN Awards  - Worldtourism Events    

Runway Shortened By Lava

Another near disaster in Congo aviation

Wolfgang H. Thome, eTN  Nov 19, 2009

Information just received from Goma indicates that an MD80 aircraft, apparently coming from the Congolese capital Kinshasa, overshot the available runway. The plane ended up in a section of lava, which buried part of the airport several years ago in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption nearby.

Since the 2002 eruption, sections of the runway and airport are unserviceable and all efforts by pilots to have the debris cleared and the full runway restored have been in vain.

The nearly 120 passengers mostly escaped with a major scare although some 20 passengers are reported to have been injured, either when the plane hit the volcanic rocks or while evacuating the aircraft.

Congo DR has an atrocious air safety record and has suffered major crashes in recent years, including one in Goma. Pilots and other airline personnel this column has spoken to in Entebbe, who frequently fly to Goma, have confirmed that the runway is simply too short for larger planes, especially when they come in heavy. All Congolese airlines presently appear on the EU blacklist, which prohibits them from flying into and across European airspace.

Another near disaster in Congo aviation
Image via

Premium Partners