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Passengers at the One-Two-Go counter at Phuket airport on September 16

DCA Suspends One-Two-Go For Air Safety Breaches

Monday, July 21, 2008
THAILAND'S Department of Civil Aviation today strongly criticised the budget airline One-Two-Go for deficiencies in the safety and management of its services.

The DCA Director General, Chaisak Aungsuwan, delivered a summary of the findings of the department's own investigation into One-Two-Go and its parent company, Orient Thai Airlines.

The damning report comes on the eve of a self-imposed ''temporary'' suspension of One-Two-Go services, which the airline claimed was caused by rising oil prices.

However, the Director General said today that the air operator certificates of both airlines were being suspended for 30 days from July 22 because of poor safety standards.

One-Two-Go did not have a proper system for maintaining its aircraft and did not follow the flight operations manual regarding the length of working hours for pilots.

In one of the most damning aspects of the report, Khun Chaisak said that One-Two-Go pretended that some pilots had passed proficiency tests to fly the McDonnell Douglas MD-80 series.

That was not the case. The reports had been falsified, he said.

Mandatory safety training was not carried out because there was no trainer to check that pilots were familiar with the Flight Operations Officer Manual.

The airline had no management oversight of areas concerning maintenance and safety, Khun Chaisak said.

One-Two-Go and Orient had both broken aviation laws so the DCA was obliged to ground them under the existing 30-day legislation.

The companies will have to prove they have upgraded their standards before they can resume flying.

However, the DCA plans to prosecute those responsible for the breaches of safety and maintenance standards uncovered by the DCA investigation.

''The department will file criminal suits against their pilots, inspectors and the companies within two weeks,'' Khun Chaisak said.

Look for more updates. Here is Phuketwan's earlier report:

PHUKETWAN has been told to expect the results of the Department of Civil Aviation investigation following last year's Phuket air crash to be released this afternoon.

Public access to the long-awaited report comes at an interesting time.

Budget airline One-Two-Go is to cease flying ''temporarily'' on July 22 due to cost pressures caused by oil prices and market conditions, the airline says.

Similar pressures must also be testing the executives at other airlines, especially those in the budget category. For Phuket, flights from Bangkok and overseas cities are the arteries that sustain the tourism industry.

The One-Two-Go suspension is happening just as British and American families of the victims of the crash of Flight 269 last year pursue compensation in US courts.

Ninety passengers and crew died when the plane slammed into the tarmac at Phuket airport on September 16, or soon after. Forty passengers survived.

A report published on July 20 in The Times Online says: ''Since the accident the airline has denied allegations by some of its former pilots that crews worked excessive hours and that maintenance standards were lax.''

While early reports blamed strong winds and rain for the crash, the Times Online article says a more complete investigation highlights pilot error.

Pilot Arief Mulyadi, 56, from Indonesia, and his Thai co-pilot were killed on impact.

One-Two-Go has denied allegations by some former pilots that crews worked excessive hours and that maintenance standards were lax.

According to the Times Online, Bonnie Rind, an American whose brother died in the crash, says she has obtained a transcript of material from the flight recorders.

''After a warning from the control tower of wind shear - a sudden, violent gust - the Thai co-pilot, who was flying the aircraft, opted to 'go around' for a second approach,'' the article says.

''However, according to the transcript provided by Rind, neither he nor Arief engaged the correct controls after retracting the wheels.

''As the MD82 continued to sink towards the runway, the co-pilot's last words were, 'You have control.' There was no response from Arief.

''For 15 seconds the engines could be heard idling as the MD82 descended, then for four seconds they roared to full power as an attempt was apparently made to save the aircraft.

''Two seconds before the crash a wind shear alarm went off. Then there was silence.''

We await this afternoon's release with interest.

Related Articles:

The crash of One Two Go Flight 269 disturbed a peaceful Phuket Sunday in 2007, just as the tsunami had done a few years previously. Now the tragedy seems destined for extensive international court action in search of justice and the truth.

Law Suits Fly As Experts Dither

A Superman suit and a decompression chamber help a Phuket plane crash victim to fly again. But Robert Borland still wants the answer to one important question: why?

I Am Flying Again: Phuket Plane Crash Survivor

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