‘No major safety issues’ at Fly Montserrat

Fly Montserrat’s deadly plane crash at VC Bird International Airport in Antigua on October 7, 2012. (File photo)

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – An in-depth audit of Fly Montserrat’s operations has not found any significant safety issues regarding compliance with operational and airworthiness aviation safety standards.

That’s the word coming from officials in Montserrat late yesterday.

However, they have reportedly noted that the review, conducted by UK-based Air Safety Support International (ASSI), unearths some deficiencies of a less serious nature.

Those deficiencies, which were not disclosed to the press, are to be addressed by Fly Montserrat and its maintenance organisation and “managed in line with current aviation regulatory processes.”

The audit of the airline that provides service to passengers travelling between Antigua, Nevis and Montserrat followed a deadly aircraft crash and a runway mishap within 10 days of each other.

The October 7 crash at VC Bird International Airport claimed the lives of three, including pilot Jason Forbes and passengers Sandrama Poligadu, 57, of Guyana, and Annya Duncan, 29, of Jamaica. A fourth passenger, Michael Hudson of the UK, survived.

The second incident occurred on October 17 when a pilot overshot the runway in Montserrat and had to roll the plane onto the grass to bring it to a stop. None of the passengers was injured.

The Eastern Caribbean Civil Aviation Authority (ECCAA) is continuing investigations into those matters independently from the regulatory work conducted by ASSI.

Preliminary findings into the deadly crash indicate the fuel system was contaminated with water, causing engine failure.

The authorities said if the accident investigation identifies the need for any further action by Fly Montserrat, this would be addressed through the normal regulatory processes.

The ban on Fly Montserrat remains in place hence it cannot operate within any of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) until further notice.

Meantime, while the company has been cleared on the matter of compliance, its two pilots have reportedly resigned.