A pilot flew into South Africa’s biggest and busiest airport, the Oliver Tambo International Airport, in the commercial capital Johannesburg on Monday in what has been described by local news portals as an “unannounced landing.”
The small aircraft landed on Tambo International Airport’s runway unannounced while other planes were queuing to take off. According to reports, the pilot of the aircraft said that he was dropping off a friend who needed to catch a flight.
“To enter controlled airspace, you’ve got to have permission, you have to have clearance,” said Captain Karl Jensen, from the Experimental Aircraft Association. “You have to be in contact with the authorities in air traffic control. You can’t just fly around and go land there, nobody would do that.
“There have been rare occasions in the past where someone has flown through the airspace, boy oh boy you don’t want to do that.
“They come all over you like a rash. It’s an infringement.”
According to Traveller24, the Air Traffic Navigation Services at OR Tambo International(ATNS) spokesperson, Percy Morokane, has confirmed the incident. The video of the unannounced landing went viral on social media.
The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) has also been alerted. Morokane says the incident is viewed in a serious light and an investigation will follow. Some in the FlyAfrica aviation group has criticised the light aircraft pilot’s actions and called him “reckless”.
FlyAfrica reported that an RV-10 light aircraft entered the airspace at OR Tambo without having filed a flight plan and proceeded to land on the taxiway adjacent to the runway.
The pilot apparently said he was dropping off a friend who needed to catch a flight, the local eNCA news channel also said. Authorities said it’s a serious infringement and probing is being conducted.
Industry experts who spoke to eNCA berated the situation and said more needed to be done to prevent such gross infringements.
“Aviation space is very critical. You have the defence who’s got to protect our space. If it was in another country, they would have sent the air force to remove them,” one expert said.
Authorities have reportedly confirmed the incident whose video clip has gone viral on social media. It has been met with mixed reactions mostly of outrage over the misuse of a national facility as crucial as the airport.