PRECISION AIRS INAUGURAL FLIGHT TO LUBUMBASHI BOUNCES
Ineptitude and incompetence, if not outright attempts of suspected blackmail have been cited by aviation observers in the region, when it became known that Precision Airs flight last weekend to Lusaka and Lubumbashi bounced when attempting to land in this important mining city of the Congo, as apparently no clearances had been received from Kinshasa. The flight then proceeded to Lusaka where it was received with the usual fanfare reserved for inaugural arrivals, water cannons at the apron extending the traditional welcome shower across the taxiing aircraft and all. At hand in Lusaka was the Zambian Minister for Transport Mr. Mukanga and the Tanzanian High Commissioner Mrs. Grace Mujuma, celebrating direct flights to once again resume between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka.
Precision Airs Chief Executive issued a brief press statement on the situation and said: The DRC civil aviation authority had inspected our aircraft and we had already paid for the permit. However, till yesterday (the day before the flight) they had not granted us the permit to land there. I dont exactly know the reason for the delay but I hope it would be sorted out next by next week.
Congo is notorious for corrupt practices and the Kabila regime equally notorious for turning a blind eye to such misdeeds, yet this particular issue could well raise the political and diplomatic heat between Tanzania and Congo, if indeed it is found that corruption was to blame for this sorry situation rather than the usual incompetence of sitting on papers forever while looking for ink to fill the pen with which to sign on the dotted line.
Said another regular aviation source from Nairobi when asked to comment: It is true that the Congo is a very difficult country to deal with. Their people are great but their politics and bureaucracy are just mad. And when we hear they want to join the EAC where in comparison things work very well I wonder, will they be a fifth column to drag us all down to their ridiculous level?. Harsh words but from experience it is well known that this just about hits the bulls eye. Watch this space and hope that the next flight by Precision will have been cleared and passengers booked to Lubumbashi can actually fly there and not frame their ticket and hang it up for all its worth. Congo oh Congo, when will things ever change.