By Bruce Ndlovu
PASSENGERS aboard a Fastjet plane flying from Harare to Bulawayo were alarmed on Wednesday morning when they were told in mid-air that their flight had a technical problem which necessitated a return to the capital.
That incident was the first of two mishaps last week for the airline, with another flight cancelled on Friday evening after Fastjet cited another unspecified technical glitch.
Procurement Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Nyasha Chizu, who was on Wednesday’s flight, said the incident occurred when the plane flying from Harare to Bulawayo was halfway through its journey.
“We had left at 7am which meant we were supposed to get to Bulawayo at 7.50am but when we were 30 minutes into our flight we were told that there was a fault and we had to turn back to Harare.
We were told that the plane would need technical help that it could not get to Bulawayo,” he said.
Mr Chizu said that after the plane made a U-turn, they were told that the flight would make another turn and head towards Bulawayo.
“About 10 minutes after we were told that we were going back to Harare we were again informed that the plane would once again head to Bulawayo as the technical problem could now be solved there.
They said that someone on the phone in Harare would relay instructions to the ground staff in Bulawayo,” he said.
Mr Chizu said on Friday evening they were informed once again that the plane had developed a technical problem which necessitated a delay of their return flight.
“On Friday evening we were supposed to depart at 8.25am but were told that the plane had gone back to Harare because of a fault. So we departed at 12.30am and arrived in Harare at 1.30am,” he said.
In a letter given to passengers after the delay of Friday’s flight, Fastjet’s head of ground operations Mr Pasi Chirume said the delay was necessary because the airline valued the safety of its passengers.
“We regret to advise you that your flight FN8446 from Joshua Nkomo International to R G Mugabe has been delayed.
The reason for the delay is due to the aircraft scheduled to operate your route suffered a technical problem.
In view of this, your scheduled flight that was to depart at 20.35 has been rescheduled for 00.30 20 July 2019 and arrive at 01.20 estimated time.
In the meantime you shall be offered refreshments while you wait for your flight to depart.
The safety and well-being of our passengers is our number one priority hence our decision,” part of the letter read. Sunday News