The remarkable and downright weird | Plane gatecrashes OR Tambo runway, SAA crisis and a taped-up plane window

2019-12-11 04:45
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Passenger airplane landing at dusk

(Photo: iStock)

It's that time of year, as we look back at some of the aviation stories that dominated our attention in 2019. 

South African Airways entering into business rescue is probably one of the scariest moments of the year - especially for those working for the airline, yet a most welcomed move to save the national carrier from an uncontrolled meltdown.  


READ: I have an SAA ticket, now what!?

The situation, which has seen bailout after bailout - culminated in the week-long strike that has since pushed it over the financial crisis edge. Issues at SAA also extended to its technical division - which affected domestic travel just ahead of the festive season. The current business rescue will see a controlled look at the business and ensure all partners are able to make the necessary provisions, as the process unfolds. 

READ: How safe do you feel flying in SA planes

But that's not the only aviation story that caught our attention as we head towards the new decade in 2020. 


Who can forget the clip of the 'uber' light aircraft plane that gatecrashed SA's busiest runway - allegedly because the pilot wanted to drop off a friend who was running late for a flight. 

WATCH | Light aircraft gatecrashes OR Tambo taxiway as pilot drops off friend, late for a flight


There was also that time a rogue drone caused delays at OR Tambo - seriously, but the Air Traffic Navigation Services handled the situation like the pros they are. Read more about it here.


This brings us to the downright weird. 

This plane window was fixed with tape. Passenger, Hariharan Sankaran had the unfortunate pleasure of getting this particular window seat. Not ideal. But the crack obstructing his view was not his biggest concern, however, as his attention was firmly fixed on whether this was safe or not.


And while it would take so much more than a bit of tape to sort out this plane - it's clear that aviation continues to face weather challenges. 

While Flying is safer than ever - passengers should hold on for more turbulence in future, according to the latest study. Published by the corporate and aviation insurance specialist, Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) in association with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the largest, fully accredited university specialising in aviation and aerospace it picks apart the issue of aviation safety - including the affects of climate change. Read more here.

It was purely the skill of these ProFlight pilots that saved the day though, after hail seriously damaged the nose of their plane, causing passengers to drop like a stone. 

PICS | Pilots keep calm as storm rips nose apart, sees passengers 'drop like a stone'


Finding a balance between taking accountability for CO2 emissions while still travelling long-haul is the ultimate, and ongoing challenge. One that South Africa is constantly addressing in an effort to keep tourism alive, and our environment intact.

The Southern Africa Tourism Services Association (Satsa) and South African Tourism (SA Tourism) launched a world first earlier this year with its Spekboom Initiative, a carbon offsetting initiative, which includes carbon-sucking spekboom plants to combat 'flight shame'. Read more about it here

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