TransAsia’s Airbus pilots to be scrutinized as well

POST-CRASH MEASURES::Transportation Committee lawmakers on Monday requested that the airline’s pilots who fly Airbus aircraft undergo extra tests

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Mar 11, 2015 - Page 3

TransAsia Airways pilots who fly Airbus A320s, A321s or A330s are to be scrutinized as part of the Civil Aeronautics Administration’s (CAA) efforts to boost safety at the airline.

The agency has been monitoring the airline after it suffered two crashes in the past 10 months, one at the end of July last year and the second on Feb. 4, both involving ATR aircraft.

After last month’s accident, the CAA ordered the inspection of all ATR aircraft in the nation. Later, it asked TransAsia pilots of ATR airplanes to undergo re-examinations after an Aviation Safety Council preliminary investigation hinted at a lack of familiarity with the aircraft and emergency procedures.

Lawmakers on the legislature’s Transportation Committee on Monday asked that TransAsia pilots who fly Airbus aircraft be retested before June.

The CAA said that pilots are required to take tests on flight simulators twice a year, adding that it would increase scrutiny of TransAsia pilots during the annual tests.

CAA Director-General Lin Tyh-ming (林志明) confirmed that 55 TransAsia pilots who fly ATR aircraft had undergone phase-one retesting by Feb. 12, and that 10 had been grounded for failing the tests.

The remaining pilots are scheduled to be tested in flight simulators this month.

Lin said that the remedial training for the airline’s pilots would definitely affect its domestic flight schedule, and that the airline had decided to utilize larger aircraft for those flights.

Other airlines are providing additional flights to help ease the gap created by the disruption to TransAsia’s flight schedule, Lin said.

In other developments, the CAA yesterday confirmed that China has yet to start testing its proposed M503 flight route, adding that the number of flights on the route would not exceed 30 per day initially.

The Mainland Affairs Council announced last week that China, which previously announced that it would begin using the route on Thursday last week, would delay implementation until after a trial run.

The route, which is located in the Shanghai Flight Information Zone, has created controversy in Taiwan, because it is very close to the median line of the Taiwan Strait.

The government protested against China’s unilateral announcement on Jan. 12 of the M503 route and three other routes.