AN Air Zimbabwe plane from Harare failed to land at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo Airport in Bulawayo yesterday due to bad weather.
The plane had to return to Harare at about 7.30AM, following a heavy downpour in the city.
It returned and landed in Bulawayo after 10.30AM before proceeding to Victoria Falls.
Passengers who spoke to The Chronicle said it was a frightening experience as the plane took a sharp rise when it was about to land and headed back to Harare.
Some passengers allegedly cancelled their flights and remained in Harare.
“We left Harare a bit later than the official time but we took off smoothly. About 10 minutes into landing in Bulawayo it started raining heavily. We were almost landing and we could see the tarmac when the plane took a sharp rise.
“It was frightening. Suddenly there was panic and fear among the passengers.
“The airline crew announced that they were communicating with the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) and the officials on the ground. They later announced that we were about to land in Harare,” said one of the passengers who declined to be named.
He said some passengers abandoned their trip to Bulawayo.
Some passengers said the failure by the Air Zimbabwe plane to land on time had inconvenienced them as they failed to attend meetings on time.
Others complained that the delay had cost them business as they had to cancel their trip.
“I was travelling to Bulawayo for meetings. I had to cancel my trip and postpone the meetings. Air Zimbabwe must learn to communicate. It’s their duty to check weather conditions at their destinations before taking us on board,” said another passenger.
There was no immediate comment from Air Zimbabwe with chief executive officer Mr Ripton Muzenda unreachable as he was said to be in a meeting.
An airport official who declined to be named said the incident was due to bad weather.
“What we did was for the safety of passengers. There was a heavy downpour before the plane landed. It had to go back to Harare.
“Fortunately the rains quickly stopped and the plane managed to land safely in Bulawayo a few hours later. It also managed to proceed to Victoria Falls,” said the official.
He said although they constantly check with the MSD, it was difficult to predict that weather patterns would make it difficult for the plane to land safely.
“We normally communicate with the MSD but it’s difficult to predict that the weather will not be suitable for landing,” he said.