An early morning Istanbul–bound Turkish Airlines plane was forced to return to Entebbe international Airport after spending one hour and 20 minutes circling overhead after take-off when it encountered a flock of birds following a heavy down pour.
“Flight number 606 departed Entebbe at 7.30 am for Istanbul while it was raining. Unfortunately, the aircraft experienced a bird strike during take-off. As a precautionary measure, the flight hovered in the Ugandan airspace before landing safely at Entebbe at 08.52 am,” Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) said in a statement.
UCAA’s spokesperson, Mr Vianney Luggya said: “There is a Bird Hazard unit at the airport, which undertakes a runway sweep (scaring away of birds) prior to any take-off or landing. That is how we have managed to reduce instances of this nature in spite of Entebbe being a bird sanctuary.”
Aviation Experts speak out
Aviation experts explained that because not all A330s planes are equipped with a fuel jettison system which is a customer-specified item , the pilot had to burn off fuel to achieve the maximum landing weight. This is the reason why the plane had to remain close proximity of the airport for over an hour before landing . Many Kampala residents who track flights were worried about the plane which remained in the same area for the long .
The plane resumed flight about two hours later after checks for airworthiness. “The Turkish Airlines flight number 606 has been cleared and departed Entebbe International Airport at 10:49 am with 281 passengers and crew on board,” UCCA said in a separate statement at 11.17 am.
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