Last Saturday (2 June), Air Belgium, flying for Air France, had unfortunately to cancel a flight from Libreville to Paris CDG after a technical issue. But website Africtelegraph.com pretends to have more information about the event: according to them, an air disaster was narrowly avoided and … passengers who booked Air France tickets had an “almost deadly experience” 1.
1 it is safe to take this article with a grain of salt 😉 the explanations in superscript are my personal comments on the article that appeared on Africtelegraph.
What is the story? In the night from 2 to 3 June, passengers who bought Air France tickets were ready for their departure out of Libreville. The article mentions that, due to the many strikes at Air France, the airline is forced to use another airline to operate the flight to Paris CDG and this “without any explanation” 2.
2 In June, Air France is leasing an Air Belgium Airbus A340-300 to operate between Paris CDG and Libreville. Air France indeed is not able to operate a newly acquired Boeing 787-9 due to the lack of instructors.
But due to a technical issue, the aircraft wasn’t able to take off at the scheduled departure time. The article continues with a new sneer at Air France: “The airline wants to preserve its damaged image after the multiple strikes and the incidents that happened in the recent years3, now the French airline thought it was a good idea to lease an aircraft from Brussels Airlines4.”
3 not sure which incidents the author means in this quote
4 the airline that is currently operating flights for Air France is not Brussels Airlines but Air Belgium. This tells a lot about the seriousness of the author!
After the passengers were comfortably seated, the pilots started the engines and the aircraft was about to take off. But a restart of the engine(s) was required; meanwhile, technicians were trying to solve the technical issue. The article continues that there wasn’t any communication between the crew members and the visibly tense passengers during this long wait5. Finally, three hours later – at around 02:00 AM -, the passengers were asked to leave the aircraft as it was “unable to fly“. The author made a rather questionable remark by asking out loud what would have happened if the aircraft had actually taken off6.
5 I have doubts about the lack of communication by the crew members
6 I prefer to be grounded rather than to take off with technical issues. Furthermore, one day after the cancellation of the flight, the aircraft was again cleared for operations.
The article ends by questioning the technical condition of some aircraft that are authorised to land at Libreville International Airport and warns its readers to be very cautious when opting for such an airline.
Original article [French]: Gabon : Grosse frayeur pour les passagers de Air France à Libreville