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Dutch Safety Board warns return to service of aircraft from COVID-19 storage
3 June 2021

Dutch Safety Board warns return to service of aircraft from COVID-19 storage

The Dutch Safety Board has issued an interim warning for airlines that put their aircraft back into service after they were temporarily taken out of service.

The Board is currently investigating two incidents in which commercial aircraft experienced problems with the speed and altitude indications immediately after take-off. Both aircraft had been out of service for some time prior to the incident because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On October 3, 2020 a TUIfly Boeing 737-800, returned to Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport following an airspeed anomaly.
On April 24, 2021, a Transavia Boeing 737-700 diverted to Amsterdam-Schiphol Airport when the flight crew noticed a discrepancy in the altitude and airspeed data after takeoff from Rotterdam Airport.

In one of these incidents, a protective cover was not removed, in the other incident, some pipes were not correctly connected. In both cases, this led to pilots being presented with incorrect altitude and speed information.

With the warning, the Dutch Safety Board wants to alert airlines to the safety risks that can arise when aircraft are put back into service after a period on the ground. The expectation is that this will happen frequently in the coming months due to the relaxation of the COVID-19 measures.

FAA issues warning for flights in Russia-Ukraine border airspace

The FAA issued Notams (KICZ A0012/21 and A0013/21), warning U.S. airlines to review current security/threat information and to provide at least 72-hours advance notice of planned flights over airspace covering the Russian-Ukraine border.

Reason for this is the potential safety-of-flight risks associated with escalating regional tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which could potentially result in no-notice cross-border skirmishes, increased military activities, and/or conflict.

Operators are to use exercise extreme caution when flying into, out of, within, or over:

  • Dnipro FIR (UKDV),
  • Simferopol FIR (UKFV)
  • Kyiv FIR (UKBV) (includes that portion of the Kyiv Upper Information Region (UIR) (UKBE) airspace within the lateral limits of the UKDV, UKFV, and UKBV FIRs)
  • Moscow FIR (UUWV)
  • Rostov-na Donu FIR (URRV) both within 100nm of the boundaries with the Dnipro FIR (UKDV), the Simferopol FIR (UKFV), and the Kyiv FIR (UKBV) (includes that portion of the Kyiv Upper Information Region (UIR) (UKBE) airspace within the lateral limits of the UKDV, UKFV, and UKBV FIRs)

FAA extends security notice for flights over Egypt Sinai Peninsula

Sinai Peninsula (FAA)

The United States FAA extended a security warning for the Egypt Sinai Peninsula by another year due to continuing concern for flight safety.

The initial Notam was issued on March 30, 2015, based on the FAA’s assessment that international civil air routes that transit the Cairo (HECC) Flight Information Region (FIR) over the Sinai Peninsula and aircraft operating to and from Sinai airports are at risk from potential extremist attacks involving antiaircraft weapons, to include Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS), small arms fire, and indirect fire from mortars and rockets targeting Sinai airports.

The FAA reports that the Islamic State in Iraq and ash-Sham in the Sinai (ISIS-Sinai), an Egypt-based affiliate of ISIS, continue to conduct attacks in the Sinai Peninsula, some of which have demonstrated their intent
and capability to target critical infrastructure and civilian targets. During 2020, ISIS-Sinai continued attacks against Egyptian security forces and civilian targets in northern Sinai, including multiple improvised explosive device (IED) attacks against residential areas and an attack against a gas

Based on this information, the FAA continues to advise U.S. airlines and operators to avoid flying below FL260 in this area.

More information:

Ethiopian Boeing 737 lands at wrong airport in Zambia

Kazakh Border Service Antonov An-26 crashed at Almaty Airport

FAA extends security warnings for Kenya and Mali airspaces

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued two new Notams, extending the security warnings for the Kenya and Mali airspaces by another year.

Amelia International passes IATA safety audit

Amelia International passed the IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA).

Amelia International is an airline with a Slovenian AOC. It is a subsidiary of the French company Amelia (Regourd Aviation Group).

The airline currently has a fleet of about 13 aircraft, consisting of ATr 42, ATR 72, ERJ-135 and ERJ-145 aircraft. The airline operates domestic services in France, some of which on behalf of Air France.

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:

Nippon Cargo Airlines Boeing 747-8F suffers a tailstrike at Tokyo/Narita Airport, Japan

UK CAA clears Boeing 737 MAX for return to service

The UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has announced on January 27 and with immediate effect that it will allow UK airlines to operate passenger flights with the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft, subject to close oversight. The ban on the aircraft operating in UK airspace will also be removed.  

The decision follows the approval of design modifications to the aircraft itself, how it is flown, and to pilot training.  This has included modification to the aircraft’s Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS) and other key safety changes aimed at preventing further accidents.

The CAA is in close contact with TUI, currently the only UK operator of the aircraft, as it returns its aircraft to service.

The removal of the airspace ban will allow foreign operators to fly the Boeing 737 MAX in UK airspace. All airlines, however, will need to go through the necessary steps to return the aircraft to service, including pilot training, so this may result in flights of the type into the UK not being seen immediately.

The main modifications to the aircraft that allow a safe return to service are:

  • Flight Control Computer (FCC) software changes, so that both of the aircraft’s Angle of Attack (AoA) sensor inputs are used by the aircraft systems (rather than previously one)
  • safeguards against MCAS activating unnecessarily, due to a failed or erroneous AoA sensor
  • removal of the MCAS repeat command
  • revised limits on the MCAS command authority
  • revisions to flight crew procedures and training requirements
  • implementation of an AoA ‘disagree’ alert indication that would appear on the pilots’ primary flight displays
  • cross FCC trim monitoring, to detect and shutdown erroneous pitch trim commands

EASA declares Boeing 737 MAX safe to return to service in Europe

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) allows return to service of a modified version of the Boeing 737 MAX, mandating a package of software upgrades, electrical working rework, maintenance checks, operations manual updates and crew training.

The Boeing 737 MAX was grounded worldwide in March 2019 following the second of two accidents within just six months, which together claimed 346 lives. The root cause of these tragic accidents was traced to software known as the MCAS (Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System), intended to make the plane easier to handle. However, the MCAS, guided by only one Angle of Attack (AoA) sensor, kicked in repeatedly if that sensor malfunctioned, pushing the nose of the aircraft downward multiple times. In both accidents, pilots finally lost control of their plane, resulting in a crash with total loss of aircraft.

In the days after the grounding, EASA set four conditions for the return to service of the aircraft:  
  • The two accidents (JT610 and ET302) are deemed sufficiently understood
  • Design changes proposed by Boeing to address the issues highlighted by the accidents are EASA approved and their embodiment is mandated
  • An  independent extended design review has been completed by EASA 
  • Boeing 737 MAX flight crews have been adequately trained
Resumption of flights in Europe

The Airworthiness Directive, which details the aircraft and operational suitability changes, including crew training requirements, must be carried out before each individual plane returns to service, gives the green light from the EASA side for a return to service of the aircraft. 

However, scheduling of these mandated actions is a matter for the aircraft operators, under the oversight of Member States’ national aviation authorities, meaning that the actual return to service may take some time. COVID-19 may also have an influence on the pace of return to commercial operations.

In conjunction with the Airworthiness Directive, EASA also issued a Safety Directive (SD) requiring non-European airlines which are holders of EASA third country operator (TCO) authorisation to implement equivalent requirements, including aircrew training. This will allow for the return to service of the 737 MAX when the aircraft concerned are operated under an EASA TCO authorisation into, within or out of the territory of the EASA Member States.