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#1 Feb 11, 2020 3:58 pm

New Historian
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Joys of African Aviation

“African aviation has the worst safety record in the world.” After millions of miles flying across the length and breadth of Africa, I came to have a true appreciation of that seemingly innocuous phrase. Yes, I hear you: flying is still safer than crossing the road. Depends on the road; depends on the airline. The interior of Africa is one vast tropical jungle, that stretches across the entire continent and breeds extremely violent storms. Added to that, the average life of African aircraft is about 25 years old – more than twice the world average. The airplane of choice is an ancient Boeing 737-200, with ashtrays in the armrests. In other words: a rattle-trap.

Flying around Africa is a nightmare: to get from A to B; you first fly to Q, overnight in T, lose your luggage in K, and get bumped off in Z. I quickly established a rule: never lose sight of your luggage; if it can’t fit in the overhead, don’t take it. The amount of stuff I’ve had stolen from my locked suitcases doesn’t bear thinking about. The worst by far was Nairobi, or Nairobbery, as I called it; those guys were all professional locksmiths. Johannesburg wasn’t much better.

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#2 Feb 12, 2020 4:50 am

Calypso
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Re: Joys of African Aviation

New Historian wrote:

“African aviation has the worst safety record in the world.” After millions of miles flying across the length and breadth of Africa, I came to have a true appreciation of that seemingly innocuous phrase. Yes, I hear you: flying is still safer than crossing the road. Depends on the road; depends on the airline. The interior of Africa is one vast tropical jungle, that stretches across the entire continent and breeds extremely violent storms. Added to that, the average life of African aircraft is about 25 years old – more than twice the world average. The airplane of choice is an ancient Boeing 737-200, with ashtrays in the armrests. In other words: a rattle-trap.

Flying around Africa is a nightmare: to get from A to B; you first fly to Q, overnight in T, lose your luggage in K, and get bumped off in Z. I quickly established a rule: never lose sight of your luggage; if it can’t fit in the overhead, don’t take it. The amount of stuff I’ve had stolen from my locked suitcases doesn’t bear thinking about. The worst by far was Nairobi, or Nairobbery, as I called it; those guys were all professional locksmiths. Johannesburg wasn’t much better.



The Chinese could teach them efficiency.

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#3 Feb 12, 2020 11:55 am

New Historian
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Re: Joys of African Aviation

"The Chinese could teach them efficiency."

What planet do you live on? Air Zimbabwe bought a bunch of Chinese planes, the damn things are in the maintenance hangar more than they're in the air! No. Thank. You.

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#4 Feb 12, 2020 1:53 pm

Expat
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Re: Joys of African Aviation

I guess it depends on the airline and the route flown but certainly BA flies planes over 25 years old to the Caribbean, Even Virgin who seemed to be using planes only around 5 years old have taken to slipping in the odd one that is 17 years old or so.

Check flightradar24, I think even the free version gives ages and details of planes in operation.

Last edited by Expat (Feb 12, 2020 1:54 pm)

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#5 Feb 12, 2020 4:22 pm

New Historian
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Re: Joys of African Aviation

“Chicken or beef?”

After a lifetime of chicken, for a change I chose beef. Mistake. This thing had all kinds of veins and grizzle, and smelt funny. Worst part was: after waiting in that hot, dusty airport for half an unfed day, I was really hungry! I gave it back and asked if they had any chickens left. No. can I have red wine? No. Beer? It’s warm. Finally, I lost it, and did something I seldom do: berated everything about the crappy airline that she worked for. You are welcome, she says.

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#6 Feb 12, 2020 6:01 pm

Slice
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Re: Joys of African Aviation

Ah wonder how ole are the LIAT planes?  I think I heard they updated dem now.  As ole as they are, they do have ah nice safety record.

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#7 Feb 12, 2020 9:31 pm

Expat
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Re: Joys of African Aviation

Liat have 10 planes, 5 ATR 42-600 which are 5 and 6 years old, and 5 ATR 72-600 which are between 3 and 6 years old.

Next question.... smile

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#8 Feb 13, 2020 9:18 am

New Historian
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Re: Joys of African Aviation

LIAT has excellent pilots, who are used to flying into and out of some very hairy island airports. Pity the rest of the staff are so bloody useless.

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