Almada Portugal:Is TAAG Airlines becoming a flying coffin once more?

Plane scattered debris over Almada before being forced to return to Lisbon airport A year and a half after having been authorized to resume flights to Portugal, the Angolan airline TAAG, is again involved in serious problems related to the safety of its planes.

On December 6, a little after having taken off from Lisbon's Portela Airport, passengers and crew that were aboard the Boeing 777 to Luanda heard a noise and intense vibration caused by a number of parts that came loose from the engine of the airplane. The parts fell on the streets of the town of Almada, causing some physical damage and injuring two but not seriously.

Faced with this complex situation, the pilots were forced to alter the flight and emergency land at the airport in Lisbon. The more than 120 passengers were taken to a hotel and it is said that TAAG does not intend to reimburse customers for their return to Angola.

In parallel, the company already made it known, through its representative in Portugal, that it will take responsibility for the results of the incident, by way of an investigation already underway, to determine cause of the fault.

In 2007, the European Union put TAAG on its black lits of airlines prohibited from flying in European airspace after France had detected serious deficiencies in the safety of its airplanes.

At the time, and to minimize the loss, TAAG opted to rent planes from South African Airlines, including crews from that country.

In 2009 the restriction was partially lifted and the EU recommended that the Angolan airline resume flights between Luanda and Lisbon, with the Instituto Nacional de Aviação Civil (National Civil Aviation Institute) commiting to do inspections on the aircraft that operated this route. Apparently, the collaboration was not adequate.

Yesterday ,in a press release,TAAG offered to pay damagescaused by the incident.The press release reads:
TAAG Angola Airlines would like to inform that the flight DT651 operating with a three (3) years old equipment B777-200ER took off this morning at 10:51 hours from Lisbon to Luanda with 125 passengers on board.

A few minutes after take-off, pilots felt a vibration on the right engine. Emergency procedures were taken and the commander decided to return to Lisbon airport where he landed safely and smoothly at 11:31.

Passengers on board did not notice any abnormality and at this moment are waiting in an Hotel on the Portuguese capital for a flight to their final destination.

TAAG is gathering information about possible consequences of the incident to assume all liabilities.

 What remains to be seen is how this sad episode will influence the relationship between TAAG and the European Union and with its customers who have for a long time complained about the national carrier for a number of different reasons, delays being the most common one.
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