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TransAsia sets stricter flight safety standards after crash

2014/07/30 18:16:05

Taipei, July 30 (CNA) TransAsia Airways said Wednesday its domestic flights will face stricter flight safety standards following the crash of one of its planes in outlying Penghu County last week, leaving 48 people dead.

The carrier said the policy is aimed at ensuring better flight safety, after an initial investigation found that weather conditions at the time of the crash met national safety standards that some are now calling into question.

A TransAsia Airways turboprop plane crashed near Magong Airport on July 23 when it aborted a landing in inclement weather and tried to fly a go-around.

The findings from the plane's black boxes have yet to be released, but weather and visibility are among the main factors investigators are considering as they try to piece together what caused the crash, and TransAsia said the new standards address both issues.

The carrier said it will require visibility to be 50 percent greater than the current standard for each domestic airport it serves.

At Magong Airport, for example, where the minimum visibility standard for landing is 1,600 meters, TransAsia flights will not be allowed to land unless its pilots can see 2,400 meters into the distance.

In addition, under inclement weather conditions, TransAsia flights will only be allowed to circle in the air for up to 30 minutes while waiting for the weather to clear before having to land at a backup airport or returning to their original point of departure, the carrier said.

Before the ill-fated TransAsia flight tried to land, the pilot circled around Magong Airport for 30 to 40 minutes.

The CAA does not specify a maximum period of time for a flight to stay in the air before being required to land.

TransAsia acknowledged that the new policy, which must be approved by the CAA before it takes effect, could result in more flight disruptions in the future but said it wanted to ensure safety.

No other domestic flight operators, including Far Eastern Air Transport, UNI Air and Mandarin Airlines, will follow TransAsia's move for the time being.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)