Air Zimbabwe’s (UM) sole operational Boeing 767-200ER that was forced to return to Bangkok on 1 July after an engine malfunction is still grounded at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
The aircraft named after the Zimbabwean Eastern Highlands Mountains “Chimanimani” was performing a repatriation flight of Zimbabweans and South Africans stranded in the region. UM462 was en-route to Islamabad when the crew received an abnormal engine indication, before turning back to BKK.
Speaking to a local newspaper The Herald, Air Zimbabwe spokesperson said the aircraft Z-WPF will remain in Bangkok until engineers have replaced the malfunctioning engine (PW4056) and it will have to be inspected before being granted an airworthy licence.
Vitori said: “The B767-200ER will remain in Bangkok until engineers have replaced the affected engine, and experts have certified that is it airworthy”. She added that “travel restrictions were delaying the required work and we expect the aircraft to back in service within seven days after delivery and replacement of the engine.”
During the lockdown period the same aircraft has been performing medical cargo charter and repatriation flights. In partnership with an Asian based company Maple Aviation, Air Zimbabwe operated a repatriation flight from various points in Asia to Johannesburg and Harare.
At the time of the incident, flight UM462 had 17 Crew and 2 passengers on board. It is not clear if the airline has made alternative arrangements to repatriate the stranded passengers a week after the incident.
The same 29-year old aircraft suffered an engine surge while performing the evening service from Johannesburg to Harare in 2019. Fire was visible on one of the engines as it climbed from OR Tambo International Airport. The aircraft returned to OR Tambo for relevant checks before it safely proceeded to Harare.
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