Status of the inquiry into the accident of One Two Go Airlines Flight OG 269
One Two Go Airlines Co. Lte, Flight OG 269 (MD-82 aircraft, Tail Number HS-OMG) crashed at Phuket International Airport amid heavy rains and strong crosswinds on 16 September 2007, killing 89 (57 foreigners) and injuring 41 of the 130 passengers and crew on board.
Following the crash, the Ministy of Transport of Thailand set up an Aircraft Accident Investigation Committee (AAIC) to investigate the accident in accordance with the standards and recommended practices of the Convention on International Civil Aviation. It is chaired by the Permanent Secretary of Transport and with the Director-General of the Department of Civil Aviation and Director Inspector General of Directorate of Air Inspection, Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) as Co-chairs, with members comprising of representatives from the Ministries of Transport and Defense and the Department of Civil Aviation.
Per standard operation practices, the AAIC informed the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) of the United States (country of origin of the designer and manufacturer of aircraft and engines) of the accident. The United States dispatched a team comprising of accredited representatives of the NTSB and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) along with advisors from Boeing Commercial Airplanes Co. and Pratt & Whitney Co. to participate in the investigation. The AAIC also informed representatives of the governments of the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, France, Israel, Ireland, Iran and Indonesia, as nationals of these countries were injured or killed in the air accident.
The AAIC asked the NTSB to conduct a technical investigation into the aircraft performance and wind conditions at the time of the accident. The NTSB has completed its investigation and submitted its findings to the Committee.
The AAIC is currently compiling its draft report of the accident and plans to complete the Thai version of the report in November 2008. The draft report will then be translated into English, copies of which will then be sent to the involved countries for comments. After receiving the comments and incorporating them into the Final Report, authorization would then be sought from the Minister of Transport to release the Final Report, which is expected to be in early 2009.
Following the accident, the AAIC informed the Department of Civil Aviation of its concerns related to:
- The importance of following the pilot operating procedures especially in emergency situations
- The over-limitation of flight time and flight duty periods of the pilot and first officer of the accident flight.
- The understanding of Thai civil aviation laws by foreign personnel obtaining the approval document for their personnel licenses.
The Department of Civil Aviation, as the authority responsible for regulating civil aviation in Thailand, has therefore taken the following actions:
- Organized a meeting with the executives, ground instructors, flight instructors, pilots and first officers of Orient Thai Airlines Co. Ltd, which wet leases (leasing of aircrafts together with crew, maintenance and insurance) the MD-80 Series aircraftsto One Two Go Airlines Co. Ltd in order to emphasize the importance of pilots following flight operations procedures during emergencies and on conducting training about the said procedures.
- Imposing a fine on One Two Go Airlines Co. Ltd for allowing the pilot and first officer on the accident flight to exceed their flight time and flight duty period limits.
- Conducted a detailed investigation of the operations and maintenance procedures of Orient Thai Airlines Co. Ltd and One Two Go Airlines Co. Ltd, and on finding defects which need urgent corrective actions, suspended the Air Operator Certificate (AOC) of Orient Thai Airlines Co. Ltd, involving the MD-80 Series aircrafts and the AOC of all of One Two Go Airlines Co. Ltd. for a period of 30 days (until 30 August 2008). The two companies were directed to correct the discovered deficiencies within the said period. However, at the end of the suspension period, the two companies were still unable to correct the said deficiencies, so the suspension was then extended for the third time for another 15 days for Orient Thai Airlines Co. Ltd. MD-80 series aircrafts (until 5 October 2008) and for another 30 days for One Two Go Airlines Co. Ltd (until 20 October 2008). On 6 October 2008, the Department of Civil Aviation cleared Orient Thai Airlines Co. Ltd in principle to once again operate the MD-80 series aircrafts.
- Put into effect a new Department of Civil Aviation regulation dated 21 January 2008 on procedures for obtaining the Approval Document for the Personnel License issued by the contracting states to the Convention on International Civil Aviation or by states with agreements with Thailand. From now on foreign crew members seeking Approval Document for their Personnel Licenses must pass Department of Civil Aviation written tests on Thai Air Law and on Human Performance. Pilots must also complete training on their employer's Flight Operation Manual (FOM) and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), complete additional training in the Flight Simulator and pass screening by Department of Civil Aviation officials or designated representatives.
The Department of Civil Aviation also received notification from the NTSB concerning deficiencies in the operations of Orient Thai Airlines Co. Ltd, in which the pilot from Orient Thai Airlines Co. Ltd appointed by the Department of Civil Aviation as chief responsible regulatory officer (the Check Pilot-all checks) for the pilots of Orient Thai's MD-82 aircrafts was held to have acted without due diligence while conducting the Pilot Proficiency Check (PPC) for 4 of Orient Thai's pilots.
The Department of Civil Aviation conducted its own investigations and found that the said Check Pilot has indeed acted without due diligence by affixing his signature in advance on PPC reports before taking vacation leave. The PPC reports were then used to record the results of the PPC 9 pilots of Orient Thai's MD-82 fleet, namely 2 with Thai Personnel Licenses, 9 with Indonesian Personnel Licenses and 1 with Venezuelan Personnel License.
In light of this, the Department has suspended for 30 days the pilot licenses of the 2 pilots with Thai Personnel Licenses, and revoked the Approval Document of the Personnel Licenses for the 7 pilots with foreign licenses and for the involved fight simulator instructors. The Department is also considering taking legal action against Orient Thai Airlines Co. Ltd, the Check Pilot and other related personnel for fabricating false documents and submitting them to regulators.
The Ministry of Transport has also set up a Flight Safety Development Committee (FSDC), comprising of representatives from the Department of Civil Aviation, RTAF, Meteorological Department, Civil Aviation Training Centre, Airports of Thailand Public Company (AOT), Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Ltd. (Aerothai) and various airilnes and associations, to exchange information and experiences on past and present work on flight safety in order to consider setting up guideslines for developing and imporoving the flight safety systems. The Committee has held 11 successive meetings so far. Safety issues considered by the FSDC have included resolving the bird's infestation problem at Suvarnabhumi Airport, relocation of the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at Phuket International Airport, sharing Safety Management System (SMS) implementation experiences, improving coordinator between AOT, Aerothai, the Meteorlogical Department and airlines, as well as mobile phone usage onboard aircrafts. The next meeting is scheduled for November 2008.