x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Ten hours to move disabled aircraft

Recovery procedures should be improved to ensure immobilised aircraft are removed more efficiently from runways, an investigation has found.

DUBAI // Recovery procedures should be improved to ensure immobilised aircraft are removed more efficiently from runways, an investigation has found.

The General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) made the recommendations after it took crews about 10 hours to remove a damaged Boeing 737-800 from a runway at Dubai International Airport.

The Ukranian International Airlines flight from Kiev was landing at about 10pm on September 14 last year when it suffered burst tyres. While no passengers or crew were injured, the aircraft was not moved until 8.23am the following day.

The authority found that responsibilities of various parties in removing the plane were not defined and that the recovery “was not implemented in a controlled manner”.

“Neither the procedures in the possession of the recovery team nor their training was adequate,” the report said.

“The requirements of disabled aircraft recovery, as prescribed in the UAE Civil Aviation Regulations, lack standards for competency of the recovery personnel and the need for frequent exercises to assess the adequacy of the recovery plan.”

Among the GCAA’s recommendations were that Dubai Airports conduct exercises to test the recovery plan and improve training for managers.

Dubai Airports said it is reviewing the authority’s recommendations and plans to implement some new operational procedures. “Dubai Airports has a close working relationship [with the GCAA],” it said.

“Reports of this nature are intended to provide important information to drive continuous improvement in safety and operational performance.

“They are, therefore, extremely technical and detailed and make numerous recommendations for modifications to the operational procedures of several parties, of which Dubai Airports is one such party.”

The authority also said the Emirates Airline division responsible for the recovery of disabled aircraft at the airport should change some of its procedures.

The changes should ensure prompt access to recovery tools, effective team training, sufficient empowerment of the team leader in decision making, and possession of a list of all aircraft types that operate in the airport.

Emirates Airline was not available for comment on Tuesday.

Investigators with the GCAA also found that national standards for aircraft recovery needed improvement. More stringent aviation regulations would shorten delays and minimise damage to the aircraft during the recovery work, the GCAA said.

lcarroll@thenational.ae