Starbow, the first airline to bring a dual configuration aircraft of a 94/97 seating capacity (business and economy seats) into the ghanaian aviation industry was involved in an incident at the Kotoka International Airport today 25th November 2017 at 1220hrs.
A newly acquired aircraft (ATR 72-500 series) with registration number 9G-SBF skid off the runway into the perimeter fence due to a crosswind caused by bad weather.
The aircraft had 63 passengers and 5 crew members departing Accra to Kumasi with flight no S9 104.
According to the airline and civil aviation authorities, 5 passengers sustained minor injuries and were sent to the airport clinic but have been discharged as at the time of this release.
This ‘force majeure or vis major‘ could not permit the airline to deliver its services to its customers leading to fear and panic among the passengers, families and ghanaians at large.
In accordance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) requirements Annex 13, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) conducted a preliminary investigation on the same day of the incident and notified the Ministry of Aviation, Transportation Safety Board (Canada), Pratt and Whitney (Canada), Aviation Civile (France), Aircaft Manufacturer (ATR), the Accident Investigation Bureau (ICAO) and Bureau d’Enquetes et d’Analyses (BEA) France, the next day on the 26th December, 2017.
The Ministry of Aviation setup up a five-member investigative committee on the 8th of December, 2017 to further investigate the incident that led to Starbow’s excursion on the runway, after the preliminary investigation done by GCAA.
The objective of the five-member committee was to; establish the probable cause(s) of the accident, determine the extent of fatalities and injuries if any, establish the extent of losses or damage to property, consider other issues relevant to the interest of safety, and also make recommendations to forestall any future occurrence.
The findings of the investigation established that, there was loss of situational awareness on the part of the cockpit crew and failure by the crew to execute the correct procedures in aborting the take-off led to the airline excursion on the runway.
Given the sequence of events leading to the accident and the preliminary findings by the Committee, the Ministry of Aviation being the lead institution for the aviation sector is taking some measures in collaboration with stakeholders in the industry to maintain air transport safety and also curtail the re-occurrence of these accidents in the future. These measures include;
Ghana Airports Company Limited to review its Standard Operational Procedures (SOPs) and responses of all first respondents.
Management of Air Traffic Control at GCAA to ensure all staff are familiar with all requirements of the accident and incident procedures contained in existing SOPs.
Ghana Civil Aviation Authority to establish a standing preliminary investigation team with approved procedures which will include the authority to request medical and toxicology tests.
Starbow to review its operational control and ensure it hires adequate qualified operational personnel.
Starbow to arrange a re-training of its crew to include Crew Resource Management (CRM) and aborted take-off procedures.
Starbow should ensure that the Airworthiness Directive (AD) No. 2016-0256 is effected on all subsequent ATRs before they are added to their fleet.
Pilots should exercise extra caution when taking off in adverse weather conditions.
The Government is committed to encourage and support local airlines and entrepreneurs to set up strong private airlines that can fully utilize all the nation’s route rights. Starbow has informed the Ministry that the Airline intends to resume operations midyear. The Ministry has urged Starbow to adhere to safety and security measures as set out by the GCAA and ICAO.
Below is a copy of the press release: