Irish regulator found aircraft’s certifications ‘satisfactory’

Irish Aviation Authority cleared safety documentation for Airbus A321 in April

Russian authorities report that as fragments of the Russian airplane that crashed in Egypt are scattered over a wide area suggests that the Airbus A321 broke up in the air at a great altitude. Video: Reuters

 

Safety documentation for the Airbus A321 that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula at the weekend, killing all 224 people on board, was checked by the Irish aviation regulator earlier this year and found to be in order.

The Irish Aviation Authority says it conducted an annual review of the Irish-registered aircraft’s certifications last April/May and found them “satisfactory at that point in time”. The certifications are submitted in support of an aircraft’s certificate of airworthiness renewal.

Safety oversight of the ill-fated aircraft was undertaken by Russia under the terms of international civil aviation agreements, the authority says. This covers issues relating to operational maintenance, safety and training.

“In that regard, and in common with all international airlines, the aircraft would have been subject to a continuous safety surveillance programme, including an approved series of checks on a daily, monthly, and annual basis,” the authority says.

Participate

A team of one inspector from the authority and two from the Air Accident Investigation Unit of the Department of Transport will travel to Egypt today to participate in the investigation into the crash.

This follows an offer of assistance from the Irish authorities, as the country of registration of the aircraft, to Egyptian accident investigators. The team will fly out from Baldonnel airport using military transport provided by the Department of Defence and the Irish Air Corps.

According to the authority, the cause of the accident will be determined by an investigation led by the state where it occurred, ie Egypt. This will be supported by Russia, where the carrier was based, and France, where the Airbus plane was manufactured.

“Ireland, as the state of register of the aircraft, will also be notified and will participate,” the authority added.

Clearer picture

The Department of Foreign Affairs said it was keeping the situation under review and awaited a clearer picture as to what caused the crash. The Department has not amended its travel advice for Egypt, which advises against all non-essential travel by Irish citizens to the North African state, with a few exceptions. One of these is for Sharm el-Sheikh in Sinai, the Red Sea coastal resort from where the aircraft departed early on Saturday before crashing.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit made contact with Egyptian aviation authorities almost as soon as it emerged that the Airbus A321 being flown by Russian airline Kogalymavia under the brand name Metrojet had been registered in Ireland in 2012.

Under international aviation regulations air accident investigations are co-ordinated in the first instance by the country in which the crash has taken place and then the country in which the plane’s registration papers are held.

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