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Audit initiated of FAA’s oversight of aircraft evacuation procedures
20 June 2018

Audit initiated of FAA’s oversight of aircraft evacuation procedures

AA383 with evacuation slide deployed (NTSB)

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has initiated an audit of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of aircraft evacuation procedures.

In October 2016, American Airlines had to evacuate an aircraft due to an engine fire. Citing this incident, and the possibility of further reductions in seat pitch and increases in numbers of seats in commercial airliners, the Ranking Member of the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Aviation have requested that the OIG examine FAA’s evacuation standards and whether passengers can safely evacuate aircraft in emergencies within the required 90 seconds given these changes in the airline industry and consumer behavior.

The current FAA’s evacuation standards have not been significantly updated since 1990.  However, significant changes in the industry and consumer behavior have occurred since 1990. For example, the number of aircraft seats and passengers have increased but seat size and distance between seats has decreased. Passengers’ reliance on carry-on luggage has also increased.

Accordingly, the OIG audit objectives will be to assess FAA’s (1) development and updating of aircraft emergency evacuation standards -including how changes in passenger behavior, passenger demographics, and seating capacity- affect the standards and (2) process for determining whether aircraft as currently configured meet evacuation standards.

EU updates blacklist, removing all airlines from Indonesia

The European Commission updated its list of airlines that do not meet international safety standards, removing all airlines certified in Indonesia are cleared from the list.

All Indonesian carriers were put on the EU Air Safety List in 2007 due to unaddressed safety concerns. Over the past years, a small number (7 in total) were removed, but the bulk of Indonesian carriers remained on the list and were therefore subject to an operating ban or operational restrictions within the European Union.

Following the June 14 update, all airlines certified in Indonesia are cleared from the list, following further improvements to the aviation safety situation that was ascertained in the country.

A total of 119 airlines or now are banned from EU skies:

114 airlines certified in 15 states (Afghanistan, Angola (with the exception of one airline which operates under restrictions and conditions), Republic of the Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Gabon (with the exception of 2 airlines which operate under restrictions and conditions), the Kyrgyz Republic, Liberia, Libya, Nepal, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone and Sudan), due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states;
Five individual airlines, based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves: Iran Aseman Airlines (Iran), Iraqi Airways (Iraq), Blue Wing Airlines (Suriname), Med-View Airlines (Nigeria) and Air Zimbabwe (Zimbabwe).
An additional six airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types: Afrijet and Nouvelle Air Affaires SN2AG (Gabon), Air Koryo (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Air Service Comores (the Comoros), Iran Air (Iran) and TAAG Angola Airlines (Angola).

Russian authorities revoke Saratov Airlines AOC over unresolved safety issues

The Russian Federal Air Transport Agency (Rosaviatsiya) revoked Saratov Airlines’ Air Operator Certificate (AOC) per May 31, 2018 over safety issues.

Saratov Airlines was involved in a fatal accident on February 11, 2018 when an Antonov An-148 crashed shortly after takeoff from Moscow, Russia, killing all 71 on board.
Violations and inconsistencies were revealed in the airline’s activities during an audit, causing the company to be put on notice in March. Ultimately the airline was given 90 days to rectify all concerns.

A check of flight assignments, flight log books, time sheets and other documents of flight crew members for March and April 2018 conducted by the Rosaviatsiya on May 26-27, found that violations at the airline are continuing and are of a systemic nature:

  • the airline carries out crew rostering without taking into account the normalization of working hours, the time of rest of flight personnel and the control of fatigue;
  • flight crew members deliberately do not observe the duty and rest times, and there is no proper control by the airline;
  • pilots are allowed to fly without a second medical examination, etc.

These conclusions led authorities to decided to revoke the airline’s AOC as of May 31, 2018.


EASA extends security notice for flights over Egypt Sinai Peninsula

Sinai Peninsula (FAA)

Sinai Peninsula (FAA)

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) extended a security warning for the Egypt Sinai Peninsula to 25 November 2018 due to continuing concern for flight safety.

The initial EASA bulletin for Egypt was issued on November 13, 2014 and the initial version of the current bulletin CZIB-2017-09 was issued on November 27, 2017.

In the meantime new or updated Notams have been issued by the United Kingdom, USA, Germany and Egypt.

Most governments advise operators to avoid flying below FL250 or FL260 in this area. The Egypt Notam does not contain such a warning, but does state there may be GPS jamming around Cairo International Airport. RNAV (GNSS) approaches should not be planned at Cairo Airport

More information:

Office of Inspector General to audit FAA’s maintenance oversight of American Airlines, Allegiant

The U.S. Office of Inspector General stated that it will investigate the FAA’s maintenance oversight of American Airlines and Allegiant.

In June 2017, the Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General announced a review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) oversight of air carrier maintenance.

Based on their initial audit work and additional congressional requests, it was decided to adjust the scope of this audit. OIG states that the objectives now are to assess FAA’s processes for investigating allegations of improper maintenance practices at two carriers, Allegiant Air and American Airlines. Specifically, to (1) examine FAA’s independent reviews, complaints to the FAA hotline, and other sources to see whether inspectors conducting routine surveillance of Allegiant and American Airlines found similar discrepancies and (2) determine whether FAA ensures that Allegiant and American Airlines implement effective corrective actions to address the root causes of maintenance problems.


Eurowings Europe passes IATA safety audit

Austrian airline Eurowings Europe passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

Eurowings Europe commenced operations in 2016. It operates a six Airbus A319 and six Airbus A320 aircraft om two bases in Austria. The airline is a subsidiary of Lufthansa Group.

The IOSA programme is an evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses internationally recognised quality audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner. It was created in 2003 by IATA.  All IATA members are IOSA registered and must remain registered to maintain IATA membership.

More information:

Transport Canada reinstates West Wind Aviation’s AOC after suspension following accident

Transport Canada has reinstated West Wind Aviation’s Air Operator Certificate (AOC) for its commuter operations after a review of the company’s operations.

The reinstatement is effective immediately and allows the company to provide commercial air service in Canada.

West Wind Aviation has addressed Transport Canada’s concerns regarding the deficiencies in its Operational Control System. Transport Canada states it will closely monitor West Wind Aviation to verify that the company remains compliant with aviation safety regulations.

On December 22, 2017, Transport Canada suspended West Wind Aviation’s AOC because of deficiencies in the company’s Operational Control System that were discovered during an inspection following a December 13 fatal accident involving an ATR 42.

FAA issues emergency order of suspension for Island Airlines

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued an Emergency Order of Suspension against Island Airlines, LLC, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, for not allowing the agency to inspect the company’s aircraft and records.

On March 14, 2017, the FAA received information alleging the St. Croix-based company was operating a Beech B200 while an inspection was overdue for one of its engines. Between March 15, 2017 and Nov. 29, 2017, the FAA tried numerous times to contact Island Airlines by email and certified letters to alert the company it was opening an investigation and to schedule an inspection of its aircraft and records.

Additionally, the FAA sent inspectors to St. Croix to inspect Island Airlines’ records and aircraft in April 2017 and November 2017.

The company did not respond to the FAA’s various communications and did not make a representative available to allow the inspectors access to its operations base, the FAA alleges.

Because Island Airlines did not allow access to its operations base for inspection of its records and aircraft, the FAA cannot verify the company’s qualifications to hold an Air Carrier Certificate, the agency alleges. The FAA has determined that the safety of the flying public requires the suspension of Island Airlines’ certificate until it allows inspection of its records and aircraft to establish the company’s qualifications.

The Emergency Order of Suspension is effective immediately, and the company cannot conduct operations while the order is in effect. Island Air surrendered its certificate

More info:

Gowair passes IATA safety audit

Spanish airline Gowair passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

Gowair commenced operations in 2017. It operates a single Airbus A320 on charter flights in Europe and for ACMI leases to other airlines.

The IOSA programme is an evaluation system designed to assess the operational management and control systems of an airline. IOSA uses internationally recognised quality audit principles and is designed to conduct audits in a standardised and consistent manner. It was created in 2003 by IATA.  All IATA members are IOSA registered and must remain registered to maintain IATA membership.

More information:

Cuban authorities ground Cubana’s Antonov An-158 fleet over safety issues

File photo of An-158 (photo CC:by-sa Oleg V. Belyakov – AirTeamImages)

Cuban aviation authorities ordered the grounding of all Antonov An-158 aircraft in the country over safety fears due to a lack of spare parts.

The Instituto de Aeronáutica Civil de Cuba (IACC) issued the order to Cubana de Aviacion to ground its fleet of six An-158 aircraft as of May 3, 2018.
IACC cites technical problems with a.o. electrical systems and hydraulics. An example is given of an occurrence in the last three months in which abnormal engine operation temperatures were noted on the Ivchenko-Progress D-436 engine. Cubana received orders by Antonov to ground one specific aircraft, CU-T1716, because of defects in the aircraft’s engines.