View Full Version : SIA explains why 2 SQ 006 pilots had to go

16th Aug 2002, 00:26
Also in this evening's Singapore Straits Times ( please also see the update that I have made to the post on ALPA-S action ).



SQ006 accident

SIA explains why 2 pilots had to go
By Dominic Nathan

INVESTIGATIONS into the crash of Flight SQ 006, which killed 83 people in Taipei two years ago, did not fully exonerate the two pilots at the controls.

That is why Singapore Airlines terminated their services, the carrier said. It revealed for the first time why it had asked Captain Foong Chee Kong, 43, and First Officer Latiff Cyrano, 38, to leave, in a circular to its pilots obtained by The Straits Times yesterday.
Signed by Major-General (NS) Raymund Ng, SIA's senior vice-president for flight operations, the circular said: 'The two investigation reports did not exonerate the two pilots concerned completely, notwithstanding the fact that there were serious deficiencies at Chiang Kai-shek Airport that fateful day.'Eighty-three people died and many others went through untold suffering. We as an airline cannot ignore these facts .Unpleasant as it was, for the general good of the company, we had to let the two pilots go.'

The reports referred to were the crash investigation findings released in April this year by Singapore's Transport Ministry and Taiwan's Aviation Safety Council.

While the Taiwanese pinned the blame largely on the pilots, for trying to take off from a closed runway, the Singapore report concluded that there was a combination of factors, and airport deficiencies played a sizeable role in what happened.

The ministry described it as an 'accident waiting to happen' and not the fault of any individuals.

In the circular, Major- General Ng went on to say that the airline had done what it could for the two pilots by keeping them on as employees after the accident on Oct 31, 2000.

'We did all we could do to ensure that the pilots were not prosecuted in Taiwan, and took care of all their legal fees and security arrangements in Taiwan.'

He noted that the company had also signed an undertaking with the Taiwanese government, promising to use its best efforts to ensure that the pilots returned to Taiwan when required.

'This was a risky undertaking, because if the pilots subsequently refused to return to Taipei, there was really nothing the company could do,' he explained.

He said that 'at no time did we give anyone the impression that we would retain them should they get their licences back or otherwise'. In fact, he said, a request for such an undertaking, made by the Air Line Pilots Association (Singapore) or Alpa-S, was rejected by SIA.

Captain Foong and First Officer Latiff were told on July 26 that the airline was exercising a clause in their contracts that allowed their services to be terminated, with three months' salary paid in lieu of notice.

The third man in the cockpit, First Officer Ng Kheng Leng, 40, remains with the airline.
SIA gave no reasons for its actions at the time.

In the circular, Major-General Ng said SIA had been advised by its lawyers to say nothing until the lawsuits against the company had been settled, although the three pilots and the association were informed of the reasons when the pilots were told to go.

Alpa-S declined to comment on the national carrier's circular yesterday, but when the news broke last month, it said it was disgusted, disappointed and shocked, because the pilots had cooperated fully with SIA throughout investigations.

The International Federation of Air Line Pilots' Associations called SIA's action 'unjust, unwarranted and unreasonable'.


16th Aug 2002, 06:47
I cannot believe that anyone realistically thought these two would ever fly again surely!!??? Whilst there were some deficiences at Taipei those two have to carry the can. However I also think that the ex DFO is also as culpable as the two pilots because of the way he has ruled over the past 20 years using intimidation,bullying to stifle any real thinking amongst who were Cadets and have come through the SIA System. He should be fined by SIA Yes fined because that is what they do to other employees can you believe!!??

Talking of someone else who should be both sacked and fined is the CEO of SIA who has lost the airline some $2 BILLION in Air New Zealand and Virgin Atlantic, and who still has the audacity to stay on until he retires next year. In any other Company in the free world he would now be spending more time with his family. No doubt the 2 ex armchair generals are trying to make good these losses by trying to make us sit in Economy Class when on a double crew!! These people are unbelievable and outsiders just would not believe some of the tricks these people get up to.

16th Aug 2002, 07:42
The Gypsy is right -- eighty-three people are dead. I think IFALPA needs to get its head out of its @rse over this one.

16th Aug 2002, 08:44
I agree

16th Aug 2002, 13:37
Any accident is the end result of a systemic failure.

Corporate cultures,attitudes and actions can often be the root cause to seemingly unforgivable errors.

No professtional pilot would deliberatley take off on a closed runway. But, if confused as to his location, what factors might have stopped the captain seeking help? Or, indeed, have stopped the FO from interveening? Would the captain have been disciplined if it had become known he had gotten a little lost at night during appalling weather? Would the FO have been reprimanded (either officially or by gaining a "Reputation") if he had voiced concerns?

I once worked for a company which stated at the outset of my employment that they would never insist that their pilots flout regulations. They then went on to outline the "Local" (and illegal) practices they "Prefered" us to use. It soon became apparent that continued employment had a lot to do with complience with this overt pressure. Needless to say I left when I could. But not before occationally doing things of which I'm not proud. And if i'd been involved in an accident? I would have been sacked for "Non complience with SOPs".

It is encumbent upon a company to foster an actual safety culture, not just window dress to satisfy regulatory authorities. And to simply fire the guys who were at the sharp end when the system finally failed smacks of wiping the corporate hands of their ultimate culpability.