Two Kenyan planes used in the evacuation of Afghans

The planes are part of the Safe Air Company fleet.

FILE PHOTO

The United States and allies are hurrying to evacuate as many people from Afghanistan as possible before an August 31 deadline. The combined effort has evacuated about 113,500 people since August 14, the day before the Taliban entered Kabul.

Two Kenyan registered aircrafts; Boeing 727-200F 5Y-IRE and 727-200F 5Y-GMA have been at the centre of the airlift from Hamid Karzai International Airport.

The planes are part of the Safe Air Company fleet based in Wilson Airport, Nairobi. They often provide commercial air transport services to commercial clients in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

Safe Air has in the past also delivered humanitarian assistance to remote locations in the East, Central and South of Africa.

Controversy

In 2019, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) suspended the licenses of Safe Air, as it cited safety concerns following inspections.

Gilbert Kibe, the authority's director general, told the parliament's transport committee on November 12 that neither carrier should be used by Kenyans.

Kibe had been summoned by the committee to explain a rising tide of air accidents in Kenya. He said that recent incidents had been “isolated” and that a safety audit of all of the country's airlines was ongoing.

Design of the plane

The Boeing 727 which carries between 120-180 passengers is a narrow-body trijet airliner that was produced by Boeing Commercial Airplanes for 21 years from 1963 to 1984.

The 727 was designed as a follow-on to the Boeing 707 quad-jet airliner from which it borrowed the cockpit and some of the fuselage design.

The Boeing 727 is a tri-jet with an engine each side of the fuselage just adjacent to the leading edge of the tail fin.

The third engine was mounted in the tail cone of the fuselage and connected to an air intake atop the fuselage at the leading edge of the tail fin by an S-duct.

The 727 could be described as an attractive aircraft as its aerodynamic lines, such as the wings were clear of engines.

The 727 was designed to be used from shorter runways of around 4,500 feet. This enabled it to be used to fly in and out of smaller city airports, as well as remote regional airfields as well.

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