SAA plane strikes wild pigs at Harare airport


Last week, a South African Airways aircraft hit two of the pigs, Peter Chikumba, chief executive of Air Zimbabwe, the country’s national carrier, was quoted as saying in the Harare Herald newspaper.

The incident came after an Air Zimbabwe Chinese-made MA60 ran into a wild pig on November 2, bringing the aircraft down, but causing no loss of life.

Chikumba gave no further details of the latest incident, but said national parks rangers were called in and captured 90 of the pigs. Residents in the area say pigs are abundant on farms surrounding the airport and easily burrow under the fences meant to keep them out.

Pigs are not the only problem, Chikumba said. The amount of birds at the airport is also posing a risk.

"We (Air Zimbabwe) had to abort a flight to Johannesburg after they invaded the runway a fortnight ago. The pilot had to reduce speed and institute emergency brakes," Chikumba said.

He said the state-owned airline desperately needed cash to deal with the invasions of birds and animals, but was still stricken by the effects of the country’s economic collapse last year when inflation hit 230 billion per cent and the currency collapsed into a worthless 1 US dollar to 10 trillion Zimbabwe dollars.

The national economy has begun to recover since the inauguration of the country’s coalition government in February, but Air Zimbabwe received no money from the new administration’s budget last week.