A KLM Cargo 747-400ERF (33694) is grounded in Harare (HRE) after a flap section separated from its wing during approach. The carrier told Cargo Facts that the aircraft will be repaired in HRE and is expected to be back in service on July 25.
Unit 33694 was also involved in a ground incident in Dar-es-Salaam last month, and had only returned to service in the first few days of July. Before that incident, Air France KLM Martinair Cargo had already arranged a short-term ACMI lease of an Atlas Air 747-400F while another of its 747-400ERFs (33696) undergoes scheduled heavy maintenance in Xiamen (XMN), and was able to bring forward the lease slightly to cover for 33694.
This time, however, KLM said that it didn’t make any similar arrangements. Instead, the carrier has had to make a few cancellations and route adjustments, mainly affecting its African network. In the meantime, the Atlas 747 (32840) will continue to fly mainly trans-Atlantic routes between Amsterdam (AMS) and South America on behalf of KLM until unit 33696 finishes the D-check and returns to AMS, expected on July 30. Air France KLM Martinair Cargo added that unit 33694 received its D-check in June 2018 and had last had an A-check in May 2019. The Air France KLM Martinair Cargo fleet consists of three 747-400ERFs and one 747-400BCF, operated by Martinair, as well as two 777Fs operated by Air France.
According to the Aviation Safety Network, a flap part separated from the wing of an Asiana Airlines 747-400F in 2009 and a Korean Air 747-400F in 2014. Both aircraft were on approach to Frankfurt (FRA). While those two incidents appeared similar and led to the German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation issuing safety recommendations, it is not known at this point whether unit 33694’s case is also similar. For its part, KLM said that it was still investigating the incident with Boeing.