Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Sept 2010 Contents 12 AsianAviation | SEPTEMBER 2010
Investigations into the emergency landing of
a Cathay Pacific Airways Airbus A330-300 on
13 April at Hong Kong International Airport
(HKIA) have revealed apparent contamination
of fuel the aircraft took on at Juanda
International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia.
The aircraft, flight CX780 from Surabaya to
Hong Kong was cleared to land at HKIA after
sending a distress call. The twin-aisle jetliner
had 309 passengers and13 crew on board.
A Hong Kong Civil Aviation Department
report indicates that
spherical particles were
found in the fuel-
monitoring units and
controllers of both
"The examination of
fuel samples collected
showed that there were
also spheres in the fuel samples from the
engine fuel system and the aircraft fuel tanks,"
the report says. "Traces of such spheres were
also present in the monitor filter layers and the
fuel samples collected downstream of those
monitor filters, in the dispenser used to uplift
fuel to the aircraft."
The aircraft had taken on 24,000kg of fuel
from Stand 8 at Juanda, which was part of
the common hydrant refuelling circuit (HRC)
serving Stands 1 to 10. Prior to the incident
there had been work performed on the HRC
as part of an extension project for Stands 1
Subsequent investigations at the
Indonesian airport found that some of the
re-commissioning procedures for the hydrant
extension work did not meet guidelines and
practices commonly used by aviation fuel
industry. Furthermore, the hydrant refuelling
system for Stands 5 to 10 had been used for
refuelling aircraft including the Cathay A330
before re-commissioning procedures were
Indonesia has been struggling to improve
its aviation safety record after a series of
incidents and accidents three years ago led to
a blanket ban on the country's airlines by the
European Union. The EU has since removed
several carriers -- including Garuda Indonesia
and Indonesia AirAsia - from the list. --
Cathay incident linked to contaminated Indonesian fuel
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA)
will review civil aviation safety in the Philippines
from 18-22 October. The audit will cover
maintenance, operations and safety for airlines
Other areas to be examined include the
qualifications and competence of aviation
inspectors and air traffic controllers. The
findings of the audit will be discussed by EU's
safety committee in Brussels in November.
International Civil Aviation Organisation
(ICAO) President Roberto Gonzalez is also
expected to be in Manila from 2-4 September
to discuss with the Civil Aviation Authority
of Philippines (CAAP) corrective steps to be
taken by the respective airlines, airports and
In April, the European Union banned
Philippine carriers from flying to the 27-nation
bloc, citing serious safety deficiencies in the
regulation and monitoring of its carriers and
weaknesses in the management of airports,
following assessments by ICAO.
Air traffic controllers also complained that
they were often forced to work 12-hour
shifts, causing physical and mental stress due
to the heavy workload.
The EU ban was a second serious blow to the
Philippines civil aviation industry. In November
2007, the US Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) downgraded the industry's safety rating
from Category 1 to Category 2
The rating was supposed to have been
reviewed by FAA in the third quarter of 2009,
but the CAAP requested a postponement,
saying it was not yet ready. Aviation officials
then vowed to speed up reforms.
In June, officials from Philippine Airlines (PAL)
and Cebu Pacific Air informed the EU safety
committee of steps they have taken to enhance
safety. Nevertheless, the airlines were not
removed from the European blacklist.
CAAP Director General Alfonso Cusi claims
that all necessary corrective steps have now
"We are ready for the EU audit and hope for
at least a partial lifting of the ban," Cusi says,
declining to elaborate.
There are seven carriers based in the
Philippines, but none fly to Europe. The airlines
are: PAL, Cebu Pacific, Zest Airways, PAL
Express, South East Asian Airlines, Air Philippines
and Spirit of Manila Airlines.
PAL suspended all flights to Europe in early
1999. -- William Dennis
NEWS IN BRIEF
THE PHILIPPINES government's plan to privatise
Terminal 3 at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International
Airport is being stalled by a pending arbitration
case with Philippine International Air Terminals
(PIATCO), the contractor that built the facility.
The case filed by PIATCO against the Philippines
government for compensation is pending before
the International Chamber of Commerce in
Singapore. The government of former President
Joseph Estrada awarded a build-operate-transfer
contract worth US$625 million to a consortium
of PIATCO and Fraport in 1997, with construction
scheduled to be completed by December 2002.
However, the contract was nullified a month
before the deadline by the successor government
of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The
Philippines Supreme Court upheld the decision
in May 2003. The government took control of
the terminal in December 2004, after making
an initial payment of US$64 million to PIATCO.
Fraport invested US$425 million in the project.
Europe's EASA to review Philippines civil aviation safety
Cathay Pacific flight CX780 landed safely after declaring an
emergency, with 309 passengers and 13 crew on board.
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