SINGAPORE – The Airbus A330 plane is a safe plane and a deadly crash in the Atlantic Ocean last week should be seen as an isolated accident, the chiefs of several major airlines said on Sunday.
“It’s a safe plane, it’s a good plane,” said Chew Choon Seng, chief executive of Singapore Airlines, which had orders for 16 A330-200s and for 33 other Airbus planes as of March.
“We should not jump to conclusions” ahead of the results of an investigation, he said in an interview on the sidelines of the International Air Transport Association annual meeting in Kuala Lumpur.
An Air France A330-200 was en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris when it suffered a rapid succession of technical problems after hitting turbulence early last Monday and plunged into the Atlantic in the worst air disaster since 2001. All 228 people on board died.
Airbus has warned airline crews to follow standard procedures if they suspect speed indicators are faulty, suggesting that technical malfunction may have played a role in the Air France crash.
Airbus had detected faulty speed readings on its A330 jets ahead of last week’s crash, and had advised clients to replace a part, French air investigators said on Saturday.
Korean Air, which operates three of the planes, said the aircraft was fine technically.
“It’s a good aircraft. I believe it was an isolated case,” Korean Air chief executive Cho Yang Ho told Reuters, adding he had no plans to ground the planes.
The crash comes at a bad time for airlines, already reeling from a combination of weak travel and cargo demand, worries over flu and rising oil prices.
India’s Jet Airways, which has ambitious expansion plans with an order for five more A330-200s to add to the 12 already in its fleet, also said it was not concerned about the plane.
“It’s very sad what’s happened,” said Jet Airways chairman Naresh Goyal.
Brazilian search crews on Saturday retrieved the first bodies from the crash site in the Atlantic.