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Cape Town International Airport’s main runway reopened after Angola Airlines incident

Cape Town International Airport’s main runway reopened after Angola Airlines incident
Cape Town International Airport. (Photo: Flickr / mikkelz)

Operations have resumed on the main runway after passengers were left stranded.

On Friday 13 October, the main runway at the Cape Town International Airport was reopened after a ‘technical issue’ closed the runway, which impacted both arriving and departing flights. TAAG Angola Airlines whose aircraft caused the closure apologised to passengers and other airlines for the affected airlines. 

The runway reopened at 7 am on Friday, confirmed the Airports Company South Africa (ACSA). 

The main runway was closed on Thursday just after 2 pm after an aircraft reported a technical issue — leaked hydraulic fluid, confirmed ACSA. 

As a result, flights were delayed from the airport. ACSA said the aircraft in question was removed from the main runway, which was followed by a runway inspection. Clean-up operations were underway yesterday while the runway was closed. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cape Town International Airport runway shut down after hydraulic fluid spill

Despite ACSA saying that the runway would be opened on Thursday, it was only opened on Friday morning.

ACSA confirmed an estimated 600 passengers were affected by the runway closure. Some affected passengers reported being assisted with overnight accommodation at several hotels while others expressed frustration at the lack of communication from airlines. 

“Following the removal of the aircraft and an inspection of the runway, ACSA teams started a cleanup operation yesterday afternoon… additional cleaning and degreasing activities were completed overnight on a larger area of the runway than what was contaminated,” said ACSA. 

Cape Town International Airport runway cleanup

Cleanup operations at Cape Town International Airport following its temporary closure due to an aircraft that developed technical issues on the runway. (Photo: Twitter / @capetownint)

Shaheed Regal, Acting Regional Manager at Cape Town International Airport said, “ACSA is governed by very stringent international safety and environmental standards therefore the cleanup operation was very critical to ACSA as passenger safety is our main priority”. 

After ACSA conducted a ‘comprehensive friction assessment’, it was determined all residue was removed. ACSA said travellers were requested to make use of their app or to contact airlines directly for flight updates and information.

Affected airline apologises to passengers and other carriers

TAAG Angola Airlines confirmed their flight DT 579 Luanda-Cape Town experienced a ‘technical event’ on landing. The outbound flight was cancelled while maintenance teams worked to return the aircraft to service. 

“TAAG Angola Airlines sincerely apologises to our passengers and other affected airlines for the inconvenience,” said the airline.

Various international flights from among others Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Dubai were diverted to Johannesburg and Durban last night. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • If the runway was closed to clean it up, how was Turkish Airlines allowed to depart last night? Yet no other international operator could use it. Just wondering

    • Glyn Fogell says:

      There are two runways, 1/19 and 16/34 (the numbers are the direction of travel divided by 10 so 1 is 10 degrees and the reverse is 190 degrees, the other is 16o degrees or 340 degrees). The runway in use depends on wind direction as take-off and landing should be carried out into the prevailing wind. Depending on wind speed and direction, the other runway could be used while the contaminated one was being cleaned. Clearly, if wind speed and direction would have caused significant risk to flight operations then the alternate could not be used.

  • Pet Bug says:

    That image is ORTambo.
    CPT needs a second min 4,000m runway. Like most airports its size has.

  • Arthur Taute says:

    TAAG’s maintenance record and airworthyness of their aircraft should be checked before they are allowed to operate from RSA.

  • jose.rosa53 says:

    Angolan Airlines (TAAG)should be prevented from flying.
    Flew 4 intercontinental and 4 African trips with them and in all trips something was wrong.
    On one trip the seat next to mine was missing, another flight the armrest was missing.
    No in-flight display. Emergency display non existent.
    Seat belt and No smoking signs blown.
    Will not be long their “new” 777 ER300 will be falling from the sky.

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