Families call for implementation of safety recommendations

The Air Accident Investigation Unit made 11 recommendations in wake of the Manx2 crash at Cork Airport

Investigators at the scene of the Manx2 air crash, at Cork Airport in 2011. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Investigators at the scene of the Manx2 air crash, at Cork Airport in 2011. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision


Both the families of those who were killed and the survivors of the Manx2 crash at Cork Airport have called on the various regulatory bodies to implement a series of safety recommendations made by the Irish aviation authorities as a matter of urgency.

The Air Accident Investigation Unit (AAIU) investigation established tickets for the flight were sold by the Isle of Man based company, Manx2, but that the flight operator was Flightline SL based in Barcelona who leased the plane from Air Lada from Seville who had the operating licence.

The AAIU made 11 separate safety recommendations when it published its 244 page report last January on the crash and AAIU lead investigator, Leo Murray yesterday gave an update on their implementation at the inquest into deaths of the six people killed in the crash.

The recommendations address issues such as penalties for breaches of flight time limitations, guidance for crew regarding succcessive approaches to airports in poor weather, proper syllabuses for appointing people as flight commanders and training in accident prevention.

Mr Murray told the inquest that four of the recommendations had been sent to the European Commission Director responsible for Commercial Air Transport relating to the role of ticket sellers and improvement of safety oversight and the oversight of operating licences.

A further three were made to the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), two to the operator of the flight, Flightline SL, one to the Spanish Civil Aviation Regulatory Authority and one to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, he said.

The recommendations were sent to the addressees in January and the AAIU was now preparing its response to their replies, some of which were satisfactory, some of which were partially satisfactory and some which were inadequate, he said.

Speaking after the inquest, aviation lawyer, James Healy-Pratt, who represents the families of three of the four passengers killed and five of the six survivors, said the families were pleased that coroner, Frank O’Connell had raised the AAIU recommendations at the inquest.

“The families firmly believe that it is essential for all eleven of the safety recommendations made by the AAIU in its very thorough and comprehensive report be acted upon and that’s something was fully recognised by the coroner here today.

“Only then can air safety be improved as well as the prevention of the future loss of innocent lives in air crashes. The families will do whatever is necessary to ensure that those eleven safety recommendations are met,” he said.

Mr Healy-Pratt confirmed that his clients had reached confidential settlements with both Flightline SL and Air Lada but acknowledged it was a weakness in regulation which allowed Manx2 operate as a ticket seller but without having to carry aviation insurance.

“It has also been recognised by the AAIU which is why there will be some regulatory change so that virtual airlines will not be allowed to take operational control of any aspects of a commercial air operator and that will be one of the good things to come out this tragedy.”

Mr Healy-Pratt said the inquest had also helped highlight the importance of the AAIU recommendations regarding when it was appropriate to land in low visibility conditions, the pairing of pilots in terms of their experience and the providing of proper training for pilots.

He said that while the families would have preferred a narrative verdict which would have gone into some considerable detail as to the contributory causes to the crash, the AAIU report did outline the probable cause and contributory factors as well as the safety recommendations.

Meawhile crash survivors, Heather Elliott and Laurence Wilson paid tribute to the emergency services at Cork Airport and said that sitting thrrough the inquest simply brought it home to them how fortunate they were to be still alive.

“All I would like to say is that this really confirmed how lucky we have been to survive this tragedy and how much we appreciate the emergency services and fire and rescue personel and how well they did their job on that day at Cork Airport,” said Ms Elliott.

Mr Wilson added: “You don’t really appreciate how lucky you were until you sit in court and hear how everybody died and the circumstances that led up to that - now hopefully the eleven recommendations will be implemented and stop another accident happening.”