Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dash 8 fate to be known this week

Source: The National-Tuesday, 25th October 2011
A DECISION whether to allow Airlines PNG to reintroduce its Dash 8 aircraft into service will be made by Thursday, Civil Aviation Minister Puri Ruing said yesterday.
The airline’s remaining 12 Dash 8 aircraft were grounded by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) following the fatal crash near Madang on Oct 13 that claimed 28 lives.
The airline had been allowed to resume its Twin Otter operations to full capacity, resuming services to some communities severely affected by the reduced operations.
Ruing, who held a joint media conference with CASA chief executive officer Wilson Spate, Air Investigation Commission’s chief executive officer David Inau, CASA chief operating officer John Bromley and prime minister’s chief of staff Ben Micah, said a tho­rough investigation was being carried out.
He said a decision would be made by the end of the week whether to lift the suspension on the Dash 8 aircraft, considering the importance of services provided to the public and resource developers.
But, he said: “Safety issues are a priority at the moment.
“The authority is cognisant of the commercial pressures and the disruptions to passenger services but we must make a safety decision after we are in receipt of all available information to support our decision,” Ruing said.
He said CASA had been helping the AIC in providing resources to investigate the accident.
“The authority has discussed at length its proposed safety actions that could be taken regarding the Dash 8 fleet.
“Those safety actions focused on power level checks, propeller checks and the associated airworthiness directives that would need to be issued, including changes to the operational pre-procedures and training are being considered.
“This is a safety-related decision that the authority will make and requires the support of the manufacturer and the type certificate holder.
“The investigation has raised serious airworthiness implications for
the Dash 8 fleet
worldwide arising
out of this accident.”
He said two issues arising out of this accident were airworthiness and operating procedures.
“A decision whether to allow the Dash 8 aircraft to commence operations will be made on Thursday.
“If the decision is made by the authori­ty, arrangements are in
place with the Civil Aviation to assist in conducting operational surveillance and audits of Airlines PNG.”
Ruing said the CAA, through AIC and CASA, assisted by the Australian Federal Police, forensic experts, Australian Air Safety Authority and the Canadian manufacturers, had helped “in a very thorough investigation that is progressing well”.

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