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Kenya Airways explains aircraft incident that forced closure of JKIA runway

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The closure was prompted by an incident involving one of the airline's Boeing 737 Freighter aircraft, which was diverted to Nairobi after tyre debris was found on the runway at Sharjah Airport.

Kenya Airways has explained the temporary closure of the runway at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Nairobi earlier on Tuesday, citing an incident involving one of its Boeing 737 Freighter aircraft.

The aircraft was diverted to Nairobi after tyre debris was found on the runway at Sharjah Airport during a routine operation from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Juba in South Sudan.

Sharjah Airport authorities alerted Kenya Airways' operations control team about the suspected tyre debris, hence the national carrier's immediate action.

"Upon receiving this report, our operations control team diverted the aircraft to Nairobi instead of proceeding to Juba," Kenya Airways stated.

Upon arrival at the JKIA, the aircraft performed an overflight, and ground teams confirmed that one of its six wheels was damaged but was sufficient for a safe landing.

"Our team ascertained that the aircraft had adequate wheels for a safe landing, as only one out of six wheels was damaged," the airline explained.

The freighter landed safely at 12.55 pm. local time. However, during the braking process on the runway, another tyre failed, resulting in its immobilisation on the runway.

This caused the temporary closure of the runway as immediate measures were taken to ensure safety.

Kenya Airways, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA), and the Kenya Airports Authority (KAA) promptly initiated procedures to replace the damaged tyres and tow the aircraft to a secure location.

"Kenya Airways, in close collaboration with the airport authority and regulator, KCAA, diligently worked to replace the tyres and tow the aircraft to safety," the statement read.

By 2.12 pm, the freighter was successfully towed from the runway, restoring normal operations at JKIA.

Kenya Airways apologised for the inconveniences caused by the incident and emphasised that the safety of their crew and customers was its highest priority.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused and reiterate that the safety of our crew and customers is our number one priority," the airline affirmed.

Tyre debris incidents, though relatively rare, can pose significant risks to aircraft safety. Such occurrences can arise from various factors, including tyre wear and tear, foreign object damage, or manufacturing defects.

Airlines and airport authorities maintain stringent inspection and maintenance protocols to minimise such risks.

In the aviation industry, the integrity of an aircraft's tyres is critical, as they endure substantial stress during takeoff and landing. Consequently, any potential issue is treated with the utmost urgency to ensure safety.

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