Thursday, June 4, 2009

Facts emerge on Emirates tail strike...

The much vaunted Emirates appears to be making its pilots cut corners on safety while its trusting passengers think otherwise...

The pilot of the Emirates Airline flight that nearly crashed at Melbourne Airport last month with 225 passengers on board had almost no sleep the previous day, according to Australia's Sunday Herald Sun newspaper. The newspaper has learned that the pilot of the plane was almost at the threshold of the number of hours he was legally able to fly - Emirates pilots are permitted to fly a maximum 100 hours each 28 days.
Not only that, but the pilot was following the airline’s orders to take off at reduced power to save money on fuel, the Sunday Herald Sun discovered. Several sources told the newspaper that Emirates – like many modern airlines – ordered its pilots to take off at reduced thrust when possible to cut fuel costs, emissions and wear on the aircraft. But an Emirates source told the newspaper that on take-off, flight EK407 to Dubai, was set at the "absolute minimum" thrust, leaving little room for error. In a statement to the Sunday Herald Sun, Emirates said safety was a top priority for the airline. "Safety is at the forefront of all operations within Emirates group," a spokeswoman said. A report due on Thursday was expected to show the accident happened after the incorrect weight was typed into the plane’s computers, causing it to set an adequate take-off speed.In addition, it is reported that air safety investigators are examining Emirates’ staff records, including the work rosters of some of its pilots, to see if there are systemic safety problems within the airline that could have contributed to the near disaster. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is carrying out a full investigation of the incident, which is expected to take up to a year.
However, Emirates Airline yesterday told ITP publication Aviation Business that the true cause as to why its Airbus nearly crashed at Melbourne Airport will be released before the end of April. "There is a high probability that the speculation surrounding this incident will be contradicted," the airline’s spokesperson said.

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