(eTN) – A Jetlink CRJ aircraft was detained on arrival in Madagascar last Friday, when landing at Nosy B,e an island located off the northwest coast of Madagascar, to reportedly fly an Italian airline crew back to Kenya. Sources in Nairobi claim that the flight had received all the required clearances before taking off from Kenya for Madagascar, a normal procedure n for airlines all over the world, and the company was taken aback when learning about the detention of their crew and aircraft over their alleged failure to secure landing clearance in advance.
A senior pilot in regular contact with this correspondent also explained that crews on such charter flights do not take off, especially to such destinations like Madagascar – the country is ruled by a rogue regime in power by force of arms and being shunned by the African Union after breaking several reconciliation agreements – if they do not have all their paperwork together.
He then added: “When you approach a country’s airspace, like in this case, the Jetlink aircraft would have been over the Indian Ocean radioing ahead, they [cockpit crew] would give their particulars to air traffic control and that includes a clearance document reference. So if the Madagascar authorities claim they were not aware, that is frankly rubbish, because when communicating, if there was indeed no clearance document, they would have told the aircraft to turn back and get clearance first. But then again, Jetlink would not have taken off without having all required documentation and permits in place. I personally think, in that country, the way it is run, maybe the left no longer knows what the right does, and communications within could have broken down or been faulty between Antananarivo and Nosy Be.”
Diplomatic efforts were made from the Foreign Ministry in Kenya to ascertain the fate of the plane and crew, and it is understood that they were eventually released and able to fly their charter passengers from Nosy Be back to Kenya, as should have been the case in the first place.
The incident has, of course, made its way into travel advisories and across the aviation fraternity nevertheless, warning of unpredictable behavior by the Madagascar authorities, a development which will only add more woes for the country’s tourism industry, which frankly deserves better than it gets from its regime, considering the many natural and unique attractions the world’s largest island holds for potential visitors. The ICAO’s report on the status of the country’s airports, equipment, and management last year already put Madagascar into the bad books of airlines and this latest incident will not help to improve their reputation abroad.