The initial report from the AAIB on the emergency landing of BA flight 762 contains serious findings. The industry must act immediately to take the appropriate safety action and ensure that all lessons are learnt from what has happened. Airline passengers have the right to expect to travel safely and it is the responsibility of all involved in aviation to make sure that happens.
– Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary
I would like to thank the AAIB for their hard work in producing the initial report. They must now be allowed to continue with their investigation and when the final report is complete the relevant authorities will need to consider any further action necessary, in line with the recommendations.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said the AAIB report on the Heathrow emergency landing "contains serious findings" and the aviation industry "must act immediately to take the appropriate safety action and ensure that all lessons are learnt from what has happened".
The report said the BA plane had undergone scheduled maintenance the night before the incident, which required opening the fan cowl doors on both engines to check oil levels.
The report noted that the plane manufacturer Airbus had recommended airlines strictly adhere to maintenance standards following previous instances of fan cowl door separation on the A320 "family" of planes, which include the A319 in last week's incident.
The report said that last July Airbus said there had been 32 reported fan cowl door detachments.
On some occasions, significant damage was caused to the aircraft but none of those events resulted in a fire.
"The source of ignition that led to the in-flight fire is still under investigation," the AAIB said.
Makers of the plane, Airbus has told ITV News: "We're supporting the AAIB led investigation and will follow its recommendations".
It has been revealed there were 32 other incidents of aircraft engine doors falling off according to today's safety report.
Airlines are being told of the dangers and to ensure they meet proper maintenance procedures.
The report says: "This event has shown that the consequences of fan cowl door detachment are unpredictable and can present a greater risk to flight safety than previously experienced."
Of the previous incidents is says: "80% occurred during the take off phase of flight. On some occasions significant damage was caused to the aircraft, however, none of these events had resulted in a subsequent engine fire."
The engine doors punctured the airframe and some aircraft systems after coming loose and the flight crew decided to return to Heathrow.
On the approach to land an external fire developed on the right engine, although the left engine performing normally throughout the flight.
The emergency services attended and extinguished the fire after the plane had safely landed.
The report said:
Subsequent investigation revealed that the fan cowl doors on both engines were left unlatched during maintenance and this was not identified prior to aircraft departure.
Information from an American safety team that the British Airways plane in last week's Heathrow emergency drama landed with one engine shut down and the other on fire is incorrect, UK accident investigators have said.
Only one of the engines on the BA Airbus A319, which had to turn back to Heathrow with smoke billowing out, was affected, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said.
The information from the US had come on the website of the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) which is assisting the AAIB on the May 24 incident.
The NTSB information on its website said: "The pilots reported that they shut down one engine, there was a fuel leak, and that they were returning. The pilots subsequently reported that one engine was shut down and the other engine was on fire.
"The airplane landed, was shut down, and the passengers were evacuated via the emergency slides."
The NTSB added: "As the state of manufacture of the engines, the NTSB has designated a US accredited representative.... to assist the AAIB with their investigation."
A statement on behalf of the AAIB from the UK's Department for Transport tonight said: "The NTSB reported that the Airbus A319 returned to land with one engine shut down and the other on fire. This information is incorrect: only one of the engines was affected."
With passengers on board and witnesses on the ground seeing smoke coming from the stricken plane, the aircraft landed safely and the 75 passengers and crew were evacuated via emergency chutes. Three people were treated for minor injuries.
The drama closed both runways for a while and although both reopened there were flight cancellations and delays for those heading off for the bank holiday weekend.
Heathrow bosses and the pilot's association Balpa later praised the BA cockpit crew.
We welcome the publication of the AAIB interim report. We continue tocooperate fully with the investigation team and can confirm thatappropriate initial action has already been taken in accordance with theAAIB's safety recommendation to Airbus.
– Keith Williams, British Airways chief executive
We regret we are precluded from releasing or discussing any additionaldetails while the AAIB investigation is ongoing.
We commend the professionalism of the flight crew for the safe landing of
the plane and the cabin crew and pilots for its safe evacuation.
We continue to offer our full support to those customers who were onboard
Engine-covering doors on both engines on the smoke-trailing British Airways plane in last week's Heathrow landing drama had been left unlatched during maintenance, an interim report by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch said today.