Air Zimbabwe passengers travelled from Harare to Kariba by bus yesterday night after the airline cancelled the flight following extreme temperatures that exceeded 40 degrees Celcius. The plane cannot land if temperatures exceed the prescribed 40 degrees Celsius required for landing and take-off purposes. The cancellation comes barely two weeks after another plane, an MA60, failed to land in the resort town because of extreme temperatures. Sources said passengers who were supposed to take off in the morning were booked to travel by bus at 7pm yesterday. They said there was chaos as passengers milled around the Harare International Airport waiting for an alternative transport. The extreme temperatures could cause tyre bursts and malfunctioning of the engine upon landing or take-off. Air Zimbabwe spokesperson Mrs Shingai Dhliwayo confirmed the development.
“UM 226/7 was cancelled due to extreme temperatures in Kariba today. Temperatures beyond 40 degrees Celsius can affect the MA60 aircraft’s engine, once the engine exhaust gas temperature exceeds the limit,” she said. “Passengers were taken to Kariba by road. Air Zimbabwe regrets any inconveniences caused by the flight cancellation.” Mrs Dhliwayo said because of the short runway at Kariba Airport, airliners were not permitted to land or take off after 6pm . Airzim passenger and cargo general manager Mr Chris Kwenda recently said because of the continued effects of heat waves posed by climate change, the airliner could be forced to introduce different timetables. Two weeks ago, An Airzim MA60 airliner also travelling from Harare to Kariba failed to land. The plane was forced to divert its scheduled route and landed in Victoria Falls where temperatures were favourable. The country recently recorded high temperatures that broke the record set 60 years ago. The heat wave swept across some parts of the country with the Meteorological Services Department saying temperatures recorded so far averaged between 33 and 43 degrees Celsius nationwide, while the highest temperatures documented in the past 60 years ranged between 35 and 41 degrees Celsius.HERALD