News24

Zuma forced to wait for flight, like the rest of us

2014-08-01 15:10
Pretoria – Next time you find yourself stranded due to flight delays/cancelations, remember this: even presidents get stranded at the airport on the odd occasion.

Die Burger reports that President Jacob Zuma recently found himself stranded in Bloemfontein due to a shortage of air force pilots.

He had been in Maseru, Lesotho on Tuesdsay when the meeting he had been attending was delayed, pushing his departure for Cape Town into late afternoon instead of late morning, as originally planned.

Due to international aviation law concerning aviation fatigue, his flight crew would have been forced to knock off their shift well before his arrival in the Mother City.

So, a workaround plan was made to divert the president’s official plane Inkwazi to Bloemfontein, where another crew would take over for the last leg to Cape Town.

When they arrived in Bloemfontein, however, it soon came to light that no suitable pilots of crew were available to take over.

Pilots are required to have logged 2 500 flying hours before they are considered suitable to captain Inkwazi. 

Currently there are only three pilots who qualify, two of which were overseas for training. 

The only option that remained was finding and flying a retired pilot in from Pretoria. 

The plan eventually did work out, but Zuma was forced to spend an hour or two waiting for his flight. Just like the rest of us.

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