A Congo Airways Dash 8-400 was landing at Lubumbashi’s Luano Airport on Saturday when it struck a motorcyclist who was crossing the runway. The aircraft’s tires were damaged, but the bike was destroyed. The 18 passengers and five crew onboard were reported to be fine, although the motorcyclist was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Congo airways Dash 8
A Dash 8 hit a motorcyclist. Photo: Bombardier

Motorbike on the runway

Congo Airways was performing its regular flight from Mbuji-Mayi to Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Saturday, using a DHC Dash 8-400 registered 9S-AAN. It was landing Lubumbashi at around 19:15 local time, when it struck a motorcyclist on the runway.

The motorcyclist had reportedly been crossing the runway at the time, and received serious injuries, according to the Aviation Herald. Unsurprisingly, the motorbike he was riding was destroyed in the accident.

Thankfully, the 18 passengers and five crew members who were onboard the Dash 8 were unhurt. However, the aircraft received substantial damage. Photographs shared online show significant damage to the tires, while other images depict the nose cone being destroyed.

The aircraft was an 11-year-old DHC-8-Q400, which previously operated for Air Niugini from 2010 to 2016. It has been in the hands of Congo Airways since 2016. It is one of only two Dash 8s operated by the airline, which are complemented by two A320-200s.

Congo Airways
The aircraft’s tires were significantly damaged. Photo: Ministère des Transports

As 25% of its entire fleet, the Dash is a critical aircraft for Congo Airways. The airline issued a statement yesterday stating that it plans to undertake repairs to the aircraft imminently.

Investigation and committee launched

On the day following the incident, the Ministère des Transports for the DRC issued a notice regarding the incident.

The notice states that a meeting was held on Sunday 15th August to discuss the incident. Various high-level directors working in the aviation authority attended the meeting, which set out a course of actions to be followed up.

A high-level meeting was held to discuss the incident. Photo: Ministère des Transports

According to the notice, several similar incidents have happened at Luano in the past, but no firm action has been taken to date to prevent future accidents from occurring. To tackle this problem, the Ministère des Transports is setting up a committee to see what happened and why, and to propose new measures for better future security at the airport.

In addition to this, the Ministère will implement a committee to create, form and oversee a national civil aviation security commission. A full investigation of the Congo Airways crash is also underway. In a statement, the Ministère said,

“In the immediate future, under the diligence of His Excellency the Prime Minister, Head of Government, the task force set up at the Ministry of Transport, Ways of Communication and Opening up, is working to launch investigations to determine the flaws administrative and security at the base of this unfortunate event, in order to establish the responsibilities.”

Congo Airways is a state-owned airline that the government is keen to build up going forward. It has four Embraer jets on order – two E190-E2 and two E195-E2 – and recently signed a strategic partnership with Kenya Airways to coordinate on routes, capacity, aircraft maintenance and training.

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