A picture of what appears like a silver-coloured sellotape stuck on a Kenya Airways plane’s turbine engine has gone viral on Facebook, with online users expressing concern about their safety while aboard the national carrier flight.
The concerns, following the pictures which began circulating online in June, came to a head in September, when a post by a Kenyan Facebook user sparked serious calls for action.
Sharing a photograph showing a silver-coloured tape plastered on the plane’s jet engine, the user said: “Kenya Airways, please don’t tell me that this plane is held together by a tape.”
K24 Digital reached the national carrier’s communications team for comment.
The communication reps confirmed that the pictures doing the rounds online are indeed of their plane, and that the material which resembles a sellotape is a strengthened aluminum foil tape used in temporary repairs.
KQ’s technical director, Evans Kihara, told K24 Digital that the aluminum foil repairs allow the aircraft be given the greenlight to transport passengers or goods as plans are made for long-term solutions.
“The tape on our plane — as depicted in the pictures on social media — is not the one used in most Kenyan homes. It is an aluminum foil, which, in aeronautical engineering circles, is used in the interim repair of aircrafts.
“The material is, professionally, known as the high-speed tape which is used in protecting scratched parts of a plane, or where paint may have peeled off. Without such a repair done, the plane won’t be allowed to leave the runway,” said Kihara.
Speed tape is an aluminum pressure-sensitive tape, used to do temporary minor repairs on aircrafts before permanent repairs are done.
The tape is capable of sticking on an airplane fuselage or wing at high speed.
Before using speed tape, airlines should be authorised by engineering teams and also comply to the requirements. Planes found using speed tape to make improper repairs can be fined.