Flights landing at Durban’s King Shaka International Airport had to be diverted after a South African National Defence Force (SANDF) jet suffered a burst tyre and had to be hauled off the runway on Monday.
The SANDF has been hosting the Armed Forces Day event in Richards Bay since February 6, which will culminate in a parade officiated by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday.
Nkosinathi Myataza, Airports Company South Africa’s regional general manager, confirmed the incident, saying a military jet had landed at 4.30pm with a “reported burst tyre”.
“We can confirm there were no injuries reported from the incident.
“The airport operations team immediately attended to resolving the matter. Thereafter a runway inspection was conducted complying to all protocol processes ahead of the reopening of the runway.”
Myataza said operations have returned to normal except for knock-on effects of the incident, which resulted in two flights from Cape Town being diverted to Johannesburg.
A third flight was diverted to Johannesburg but returned to Durban after the runway was cleared.
“King Shaka International Airport would like to apologise to all passengers for the inconvenience caused.”
Kobus Marais, the DA’s shadow minister for defence and military veterans, said the incident could have occurred because of “some mechanical reason”.
“For me the important thing is to determine whether it was because of poor maintenance or human error.
“Fortunately nobody was injured. It seems the pilot did incredibly well to land the plane without much incident.
“Nothing further was damaged, except for a few delays and diverting of flights,” said Marais.
Kirby Gordon, FlySafair spokesperson, confirmed one of the airline’s flights had been diverted.
“There was one, yes, FA416 from Johannesburg to Durban that had to divert back to Johannesburg. We managed to avoid any further delay.”