Portuguese-speaking countries discuss air safety in Maputo
A Boeing 737-700 aircraft owned by Mozambique Airlines (LAM) suffered damage to the front of its fuselage on Thursday when it collided with an object as it came in to land at Tete airport in the centre of the country.
A statement issued by LAM on Friday said the aircraft had left Maputo at 15.35, with 80 passengers and six crew members, and was due to arrive in Tete at 17.15. As the plane prepared to land, with the Tete runway in sight, the crew heard a loud noise, which suggested that something had struck the aircraft.
The plane was able to land normally, and once on the ground the crew confirmed that there was damage to the right side of the front of the fuselage.
The LAM statement did not suggest what might have hit the plane, but reports on social media claim that the object was a drone. However, it is not at all clear who would be operating a drone in the vicinity of Tete airport and for what purpose.
The damaged fuselage part of the Boeing will be replaced, but while these repairs are under way LAM is an aircraft short. A second plane was called to Tete to carry passengers scheduled to travel to Maputo on the Thursday evening flight.
LAM warns that while the Boeing 737-700 is out of service, it may have to reprogramme its timetable. The company is also reporting the incident to the regulator, the Mozambique Civil Aviation Institute (IACM).