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CAA-NZ lays charges against airline pilot for unnecessary endangerment
18 April 2011

The New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has laid charges against a the pilot-in-command of Pacific Blue flight 89 from Queenstown to Sydney in 2010.

Two charges have been laid under the Civil Aviation Act, including one under s44 for causing unnecessary endangerment. The action is the result of an extensive investigation by the CAA into the departure of a Boeing 737-800 aircraft from Queenstown on 22 June 2010.

The airline has not been charged. “I am satisfied that Pacific Blue had the appropriate procedures in place for operations conducted at Queenstown”, said Steve Douglas, Director of Civil Aviation. “The investigation concluded that the airline’s procedures and operating conditions were breached in this take off event in June 2010, and that safety was compromised as a result.”

Pacific Blue said its internal procedure states aircraft at Queenstown should take off no later than 30 minutes before evening twilight. It said on this occasion the plane took off about 26 minutes before twilight. “After take-off the aircraft climbed at a safe and legal height in accordance with the weather conditions at the time and followed the prescribed visual departure procedure to continue its course to Sydney,” Pacific Blue said in a statement in 2010.

The matter is now sub judice and will be heard in the Queenstown District Court.

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