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Ugandans still favor Turkish Airlines despite recent bird strike incident

Ugandans still favor Turkish Airlines despite recent bird strike incident
Bird strike forced Turkish Airlines flight to make emergency landing in Uganda with 281 people on board

By Hamza Kyeyune

KAMPALA, Uganda (AA) - Türkiye's flag carrier remains a favorite in Uganda, despite a recent bird strike shortly after one of the airline's planes took off in the East African nation, forcing an emergency landing.

The Airbus 330 of Turkish Airlines flight 606 from Entebbe International Airport had to circle in Ugandan airspace for an hour-and-a-half after its engines hit a flock of birds soon after takeoff to burn off fuel and become lighter for the early landing with 281 passengers and crew on board.

The maximum takeoff weight of most planes is lighter than their landing weight and an attempt to land without reducing fuel first is considered risky. While a majority of large planes are designed with fuel dumping systems, the A330-200F, such as the Turkish Airlines plane, do not.

The Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA), the regulator of the aviation industry in the country, said the plane was checked for airworthiness before later resuming its flight.

For passengers, impromptu landings can be alarming, but the incident appears not to have affected the Turkish Airlines passengers' preference for the carrier.

"Bird strikes have always been a part of aviation and I don't think it has anything to do with a specific airliner, this can happen on any flight. I will continue flying Turkish Airlines anyway," Zainab Musa told Anadolu. Several other passengers hold similar views.

According to flightconnections.com, a website that lists all flight routes worldwide, Turkish Airlines has positioned itself as a preferred airline with more direct flights to Entebbe ordered by popularity, surprising traditional competitors like Brussels Airlines and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

- What happens in a bird strike?

Collisions between aircraft and birds, which usually fly at lower altitudes, mostly occur during takeoff or landing, mostly damaging forward-facing areas of a plane, such as the windscreen, nose cone, and engines.

The biggest risk to flight safety is when a bird gets caught in one or more engines, which may fail as a result, though most aircrafts are capable of flying on one engine until it can land safely at the nearest airport.

Many airports, including Entebbe, have bird hazard control units charged with keeping birds away before an aircraft takes off or lands.

Until last week's incident with the Turkish Airlines flight, the most high-profile bird strike in Uganda was recorded when in October 2010, a KLM Airbus A330-200 departing Entebbe for Amsterdam sucked a bird into its right engine on takeoff and was grounded thereafter.

Records by AeroInside, an outlet covering aviation accidents and other related news, show that Turkish Airlines flights have experienced at least a dozen bird strikes since 2018.

source: News Feed
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