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Africa Air Safety

Fallout of ir Crashes Continues to Grow

Dr. Wolfgang Thome, eTN Uganda  Jun 22, 2008

News have reached from Juba and Khartoum, that Sudan Airways’ licence and AOC were suspended by the Sudanese aviation regulators for initially a month, following the crash of their A310 recently upon landing in Khartoum. While thankfully most of the passengers and crew survived the flaming inferno of the burning plane, some 30 passengers and at least one crew member lost their lives. This means that effective immediately Sudan’s national airline cannot operate a single flight until the end of the suspension, which sources from Khartoum say may in fact be extended, if Sudan Airways cannot satisfy the regulators’ directives. There is open speculation over the causes of the suspension but the crash has certainly not helped, if indeed other reasons caused the regulator’s nearly unprecedented step.

Contacts known to this correspondent within Sudan Airways’ circles have politely declined to be drawn into the debate and refused to make any comments.

Meanwhile in Kenya accusations are flying towards the KCAA for having licensed the crash pilot, whose records suddenly are made look dubious by latest revelations in the media and hushed talk within the aviation fraternity at Wilson Airport, how he could have obtained a CPL (commercial pilot’s license) within an apparently very short period of time after completing his initial PPL (private pilot’s license) course. It now appears that, inspite being on VFR operations mode (visual flight rules) the pilot was flying through thick clouds on the fateful day which is not permitted under VFR and air traffic control hence
did not communicate as extensively with the pilot as would otherwise be the case under IFR operations.

It could not be ascertained if the pilot was indeed even cleared for IFR operations or was only checked out for VFR’s. The aircraft in question also seems to have suffered a previous accident while in Kenya and it is alleged that subsequently the registration was changed. The plane was initially imported from the United States and there are now also belated questions on discrepancies of data between what was in the American documents and what now appears in the Kenyan documentation.

Pressure on the Kenyan CAA meanwhile continues to grow and changes at the helm and across the organization are no longer ruled out in coming weeks and months.

Fallout of ir Crashes Continues to Grow

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