A Sh10 billion Kenya Airways aircraft was on Sunday night extensively damaged just prior to takeoff, forcing the airline to ground it and book the Johannesburg-bound passengers on other flights.
The national carrier says one of its eight Boeing 737-800 aircraft suffered damage to its main body (fuselage and engine) after a tow truck —which was dragging the plane from the terminal bay to the runway — rammed it.
This accident happened around 8:50pm when the last of three daily KQ flights to Johannesburg was scheduled, forcing the airline to cancel the trip and rebook passengers.
“Kenya Airways confirms that one of its aircraft was involved in an unfortunate incident Sunday evening,” the airline said in a statement. “There were no injuries. Flight KQ764 was later cancelled to allow for further investigations and all guests were accommodated on other flights.”
KQ operates four Boeing 737-800 which are suitable for short and medium range (up to 4,000 kilometres) flights and with a capacity of 146 passengers. The airline has three daily flights between Nairobi and Johannesburg — at 7:45am, 12:55pm and at 8:50pm.
The accident is set to cost the airline’s insurers a tidy amount of money, especially the engine which is one of the most costly individual parts on an aircraft.
KQ’s next generation Boeing 737-800 aircraft use engines produced by Ohio-based CFM International. A new unit costs about $10 million (Sh1 billion).
The national carrier, which is currently facing cash constraints, could also lose some revenue as it will be forced to rearrange its flight schedules to accommodate passengers on the reduced fleet.
At any given time, an airline will have some aircraft out of service for routine maintenance.
The dates of these checks are known well in advance, allowing for an airline to budget around the number of available seats.
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