Friday, June 12, 2009

Myanma Airways Jet Crash-Lands in Sittwe

By AUNG THET WINEThursday, June 11, 2009

Pilots at Burma’s state-owned domestic air carrier, Myanma Airways, have been warned by the deputy minister for transport that whoever makes a serious mistake on the job will be "severely punished," following a crash landing of a jet on Saturday in Sittwe, injuring two people.

A Fokker F28-4000 jet rests off the runway at the Sittwe airport after sustaining damage following a crash landing on June 6. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)
One passenger and the first officer received non-critical injuries and were treated at a hospital.

According to sources at Rangoon's Mingaladon Airport, Col Nyan Tun Aung, the deputy minister for transport, told pilots that they must avoid accidents at the state-owned airline and all aircraft must undergo serious pre-flight inspections.

"If the damages are not caused by weather or mechanical failure, the pilots could be dismissed or sentenced," said the deputy minister, according to a source.

Both wings received severe damage after hitting trees. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)
A Fokker F28-4000, registration XY-ADW on flight UB-409 with 64 passengers and four crew, veered off the 1,829-meter (6,000 feet) runway while landing in Sittwe, located about 320 kilometres northwest of Rangoon.

The landing gear sustained substantial damage while running over soft ground and both wings received severe damage after hitting trees, according to sources. The left side of the fuselage showed minor impact damage.

Many organizations and governments have criticized the state airline’s poor safety standards.

In 2008, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued an advisory warning its staff not to use flights operated by Myanma Airways because of the airline’s failure to meet international safety standards.

The left side of the fuselage shows minor impact damage. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)
The British statement also advised staff to avoid privately owned Air Bagan, which sometimes uses aircraft leased from Myanma Airways. The warning extended to Myanmar Airways International (MAI) flights that use Fokker 100 aircraft owned by Air Bagan.

Air Bagan is owned by Tay Za, a prominent Burmese businessman with close ties to the ruling junta, who is on the US sanction’s list.

International flights of Myanma Airways are operated by Myanmar Airways International (MAI). Myanma Airways is the majority shareholder of Joint Venture Company MAI, set up in 1993, initially created as a joint venture between Myanma Airways and Singapore-based Highsonic Enterprises, with the support of Royal Brunei Airlines.

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