A preliminary report has shown that the braking system on CAL’s ATR aircraft was not functional at the time the aircraft collided with a wall at Piarco Airport on Wednesday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said on Friday.
And he was also unable to say if the person steering the aircraft from the airport ramp to a hangar when the incident occurred at 11.15 pm, was certified to do so.
Imbert gave the explanations in Parliament yesterday, responding to Opposition queries on the accident. He stressed it was not a “crash” as the Opposition called it.
CAL has said the aircraft was being taxied from the ramp to an aircraft hangar when the incident happened. The aircraft was not in active service and there were no passengers or crew aboard. It was withdrawn from service and a probe started.
On Thursday Imbert said, “Preliminary reports indicate the braking system wasn’t functional at the time. However, these are just preliminary reports and it would be irresponsible to speculate on the actual cause of the accident until all investigations are complete. I’m sure (investigations) will be done in the shortest possible time.”
He said CAL is doing its own investigation and the Civil Aviation Authority is doing an independent probe also to determine the root cause of the accident.
On Thursday, Imbert said a preliminary estimate of repair cost was about US$1M. On Friday, CAL stated the cost is being assessed and this will be covered by CAL’s insurance.
CAL, in a release, stated the aircraft had been using its own power and was being operated by a licensed aircraft engineer. CAL added that a preliminary report indicated that as soon as the aircraft began to taxi, the aircraft engineer noticed that the hydraulic system was not activated.
CAL said prior to the incident, it was in discussions with a potential lessor to obtain a wet lease to supplement its fleet using a similar aircraft type. Once arrangement is complete, the wet lease will operate from April 8 to September 30, which will cover the busy Easter and August vacation period. (T&T Guardian)