Arusha Municipal Airport ready to reopen for regular operations in the morning


(Posted 21st December 2013)

Local aviation sources in Tanzania have confirmed that regular operations to and from the Arusha Municipal Airport, in short ARK, will resume in full in the morning. Flights to that local airport were disrupted when Ethiopian Airlines mistakenly flew a B767-300ER in a high risk landing into ARK which is not certified for such operations and neither runway nor terminal or handling facilities there are ready to receive such jets.

The aircraft, after being ‘lightened’ first, took off yesterday for the minutes long ferry flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport, which cleared the way to have any potential damage assessed by the Tanzania Airport Authority and Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority staff to establish if any claims can be brought against Ethiopian Airlines before regular operations with light aircraft resumed.

(By David Sawe)

The moment of the departure of flight ET 815, a B767-300ER leased by Ethiopian Airlines, registered as ET-AQW and without any livery painted on it, was captured on camera and shows the enormous dust cloud as the jet lifted off, after powering down the short strip with full throttle.

ARK’s specs, to repeat the details here, are: The runway is 1.620 metres long, or 5.315 feet, ARK (IATA three letter code) / HTAR (ICAO four letter code) and the airport’s elevation is given in official documents as 4.550 feet above mean sea level or 1.387 metres.

Local airlines like Precision Air, which were forced out of ARK by the Ethiopian Airlines’ ‘arrival’ are now busy to prepare for a shift back from Kilimanjaro International Airport to the Arusha field, after incurring substantial cost in moving their flights to JRO during the past two days. It is expected that they too will file claims for such financial damages against Ethiopian Airlines.

On the upside, those at Arusha’s municipal airport witnessed again a remarkable piece of airmanship and skilled flying though of course the root cause of having this aircraft land there in the first place is now subject to a full investigation by the Tanzania Civil Aviation Authority. This enquiry will hopefully unearth the precise reasons why the aircraft, unable to land at Kilimanjaro, was not diverted by the crew to Nairobi or Dar es Salaam as every other airline would have done but opted to land at ARK. Watch this space for breaking and regular aviation news from the East African region.

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