File photo from 2011 of the plane being removed from the crash site. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Cork Airport Crash

Pilots say there are "significant issues" within aviation industry

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association were commenting on a report that said tiredness and ‘inadequate training’ were factors in a crash at Cork Airport.

IRISH PILOTS HAVE said that there are “significant issues” that need to be addressed within the aviation industry, in the wake of a report on a crash at Cork Airport.

The Irish Airline Pilots’ Association (IALPA) branch of IMPACT trade union made the comments while responding to the publication of the final report by the Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) into the Fairchild Metro III accident in Cork on 10 February 2011.

Six people were killed in the incident at Cork Airport, with the AAIU finding that the probable cause of the crash was “loss of control during an attempted go-around initiated below decision height (200 feet) in instrument meteorological conditions”.

The investigators said that “systemic deficiencies” included pilot training and “inadequate oversight”, which contributed to the crash.

IALPA president, Captain Evan Cullen, said that their thoughts and sympathies are with the bereaved families of the flight crew and passengers.

He pointed out: “The most cursory review of the report clearly indicates that there are significant issues to be addressed in the wider aviation industry, as well as issues directly related to the accident.”

The report clearly indicates that regulatory, technical and human factors were centrally involved in this tragic accident. It is clear to IALPA that the voices of professional pilots operating on the front line of aviation need to be heard and listened to at every level of the industry, to ensure we minimise the possibility of such an accident happening again.

According to Captain Cullen, “many of the conclusions in the report clearly indicated that minimum standards were operated at ‘every level’ of the commercial operation of the flight”.

He said IALPA welcomed the recommendation calling for rigorous improvements in the regulatory regime.

If these recommendations are fully implemented, said Cullen. “they will help to reduce the commercial practices that rely entirely on the use of minimum standards, and help to ensure that such a tragedy can be avoided in the future”.

Captain Cullen said that the IALPA will review the report in detail and will provide a more comprehensive response on behalf of the professional pilot community.

Manx2 response released a statement saying it welcomed the report, and that the “devastating impact of the tragic accident” three years ago “is not something that the passing of time has diminished”.

It also said that the thoughts and sympathies of all those involved are “with the families of those who lost their lives and those who were injured”.

Manx2 ceased trading in December 2012. The former directors and employees of the company gave the AAIB and the AAIU “their fullest co-operation” throughout the investigation “to ensure that the full facts could be determined and any lessons learned to improve future air safety”.

Unfortunately, the report is clear that the prime causes of the accident were decisions made by the Flightline crew in adverse weather conditions, compounded by inappropriate crew rostering by the Operator and a significant lack of oversight by the Spanish air safety authority.

Read: Tiredness and ‘inadequate training’ of flight crew factors in Cork Airport crash>

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