Yemenia accident creates diplomatic disquiet

London
Source:
This story is sourced from Flight International
Subscribe today »

Since the 30 June crash of a Yemenia Airbus A310-300 offshore from the Comoros Islands, European Commission regulators have demanded that Yemenia presents an update on safety improvement programmes at the carrier by 10 July.

A safety plan for Yemenia was agreed last year to bring it up to International Civil Aviation Organisation standards in engineering and operations, so this request is effectively for a review of progress.

The EC disclosed the arrangement in a statement following a meeting with Yemeni transport minister Khaled Ibrahim Al-Wazeer in Brussels on 3 July. Yemenia has been avoiding the EC's airline blacklist by working to implement the safety plan. Now the airline has been instructed to submit "all information on safety matters" to the EC by 10 July, after which a technical meeting with the airline has been planned.

Airbus, at the EC's request, has been helping the airline to meet the agreed standards.

Meanwhile, the French investigation agency BEA is leading the accident inquiry. The official Yemeni news agency Saba cites the country's civil aviation authority as saying that recorded transmissions between the crew and air traffic control at Moroni contain no reports of problems before the aircraft hit the sea during its night approach.

The BEA reported on 5 July that locator signals from the aircraft's flight data and cockpit voice recorders have been detected, but the equipment had yet to be retrieved. There was only one survivor from the crash from the 11 crew and 143 passengers on the A310.

Saba also reports that negative publicity from France is causing Yemenia to rethink its order for Airbus A350-800s. After the accident French transport minister Dominique Bussereau had said publicly that Yemenia would have to improve its standards or be blacklisted. Yemenia has 10 of the twinjets on order, an agreement confirmed in late 2007.