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Flash Airlines B737 Crash in Egypt

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Flash Airlines B737 Crash in Egypt

Old 5th Jan 2004, 04:32
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Swiss ban...

...of Flashair was notified to Europe's administration according to press release yesterday.

Today French official declared the subsequent checks of Flashair 737 were satisfactory.....
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 04:35
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According to France 2, French Transport Minister Gilles De Robien confirmed that France had gotten an advisory from Swiss authorities regarding Flash Airlines. He also stated that the airline had undergone three inspections. The last two were passed "sans aucune réserve" which I can best translate as without issues. The last one was in the fall of 2003.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 05:03
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Norwegian newspapers has some additional information on the 737-300:
Both 'dagbladet' and 'dagsavisen' claims that the 737 where earlier operated by norwegian carrier Color Air(for a brief period competing with SAS and Braathen, operating 3 737-300's domestically, amongst them both the now flash aircrafts) during 98 and 99.
One of Color Airs former pilots(25,000 hours, now retired) Says the aircraft was in perfect condition at that time.

Flash operated a few charter route to Egypt for norwegian Pyramidene reiser during the summer 2002, and a passenger refers to the trip as memorable.
-the aircraft started taxiing imideately after the last pax was aboard, without all pax being seated.
-seatbelts where missing, and one pax(female seat 19B!) where placed on the floor and held by an flight attendant, until seatbelt sign was switched off.
-The passenger later wrote a letter to norwegian CAA about the incident.

The aircraft whent trough a D-check at braathens/SAS service facility at Sola, Stavanger December 2002, the manager claims the aircraft to have been in perfect condition "as new", upon completion. But wouldn't comment on the state of the aircraft before the service.
The engines where at same time serviced in france.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 05:17
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Anyone have any insight into security procedures at departure point.

In Cairo, the security is very hit and miss even though there are 2 X-ray checks before boarding and a manual bag search.

I would be interested also to hear if the supposed 180 degree turn to head back to the airport was carried out in a manner expected ie: was excessive height lost in the turn, was it a normal arc etc

The point being that if the aircraft was under control mechanically it does heighten other possibilities. A catastrophic failure would have led to the aircraft continuing on its current heading (approx)

I am not one to pre-judge but if the FDR and CVR are too deep to recover then the speculators will have a field day (God forbid)
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 05:33
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Color Air, a Norwegian operator, went bankrupt in 1999. This where Flash Air picked up at least one of their 737-300, if not both. I'm just supposing that a bankrupt airline did not keep its planes up to SAS standards. Braathens was not on very solid ground either at those times before they were bought out by SAS. So, here is a short quip from Color Air:
---
September 27, 1999
Thousands hit by Color Air bankruptcy

Some 20,000 passengers, more than 200 employees and hundreds of creditors have been hit by Monday's sudden grounding of cut-rate but loss-ridden airline Color Air. Some workers say they feel cheated.

Color Air's low passenger counts and heavy financial losses were well-known in the market, but staff members nonetheless say management sent out optimistic signals as recently as last month. One leading flight attendant said staff was told that more capital would be pumped into the airling carrier.


But directors at a board meeting Sunday night decided to cut their losses and cease operations immediately. Color Air, which only survived 13 months, lost NOK 245 million in the first half of this year alone.


Rival Braathens says it will honor Color Air tickets, but 220 employees will lose their jobs as of October 1.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 06:13
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Looks like the Beeb have latched on to something....
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 06:36
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The Egyptians are getting paranoid:
---
Swiss official: Egyptian airline banned; Cairo denies claim
Sunday, January 4, 2004 Posted: 3:58 PM EST (2058 GMT)

Egyptian charter plane crashes in the Red Sea.

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, Egypt (CNN) -- Flash Airlines, which operated a chartered Boeing 737 that crashed in the Red Sea off Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, was banned by Switzerland in 2002 over technical worries, the country's office of aviation said Sunday.

No survivors have been found in Saturday's crash, which killed at least 148 people -- most of them French vacationers returning home from the Egyptian resort town. Officials have described the crash as an accident and said terrorism has been ruled out as a possible cause.

Speaking on Swiss television, Celestine Perrisinotto, spokeswoman for the Federal Office for Civil Aviation, said "a series of shortcomings showed up" in a Flash Airlines plane during a security check in October 2002.

Egyptian officials were given a list of the shortcomings, and the airline did not seek to re-enter Switzerland, she said. The Swiss news agency Swissinfo quoted Perrisonotto as saying that Flash never responded to the Swiss concerns, and she could not offer details of the problems Swiss authorities found.

Egyptian Civil Aviation minister Ahmed Shafiq said the Swiss statement was inaccurate and baseless.

Speaking to CNN in Sharm el-Sheikh, Shafiq said he wanted to see documents proving what the Swiss official said was true. And he said Egypt has documents stating that Flash Airline's planes were safe.

Shafiq said a technical problem caused the crash, although searchers have not yet found any flight data recorders from the aircraft that might help explain what went wrong.

"Just two minutes or let us say three minutes after takeoff, we imagine that the pilot has discovered something which is abnormal in the control and the serviceability of the aircraft in general, he changed his plan maybe again trying to land again in the same airport," he said.

In Washington, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said that, at the request of the Egyptian government, it was sending a representative to assist in the investigation.

The Egyptian charter airline company is based in Cairo and operated two Boeing 737-300s, both made in 1993. It is part of Flash Group, which offers vacation packages across Egypt...
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 07:56
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Quote - "Just two minutes or let us say three minutes after takeoff, we imagine that the pilot has discovered something which is abnormal in the control and the serviceability of the aircraft in general, he changed his plan maybe again trying to land again in the same airport," he said. Unquote

This sounds like Baghdag Bob.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 14:30
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Don't you Gents think it's a bit too coincidental that Prime Minister Tony Blair was In Sharm El Sheikh vacationing at the time of the accident?
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 15:21
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Iloveholland

What are you suggesting - that one of the pilots was an
Al Queda sympathiser and tried to take control of the aircraft
and fly it into wherever Tony Blair and his family were staying?

Highly unlikely, but may as well add it to the rest of the speculation on this thread, lets hope they retrieve the CVR
and blackbox to get the facts.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 15:51
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go_dj , the paranoid yanks are even saying that a Nigel could be an Al Qaeda operative so I don't know why they haven't suggested the same for Flash Air...


FBI HUNTS FOR AL-QAIDA PILOT "MOLE"

A British newspaper says FBI fears that an al-Qaida operative may be working as a pilot for a British airline are behind flight cancellations last week. The Daily Mirror says American investigators will screen all British pilots flying to the U.S. to try and root out the suspected mole. The paper quotes unnamed sources as saying the infiltrator intends to crash a planeload of people into the White House, Pentagon or Capitol building. Brian Doyle, a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security, confirmed the suspicions. "The intelligence is telling us there are some forms of infiltration from al-Qaida. We are looking hard into it."
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 15:58
  #92 (permalink)  
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Unhappy

latest from French TV :
Transport minister De Robien confirms France got warning of Swiss ban and ordered 3 subsequent checks on the airline . first one show "minor deficiencies" (but he would not elaborate what they were) , the 2 others showed no "abnormalities ". he asumed the deficiencies found by the Swiss had been rectified in the meantime he said.
He said he fully trust the Egyptian authorities, labelled by him one of the best States for aviation safety regulation .
France 2 TV showed a video of a pax taken during a emergency landing in ATH showing poor state of interior ( broken seats covers and armrests ) and 2 running mechanics on the tarmac later opening the cowlings of a smoking CFM56.
This media circus is generating an anti-charter feeling among the viewers, were many anchors raising questions about safety of "cheap-tickets-airlines "(sic)
The Air Senegal and Gambia / Club Med crashes in similar circumstances a few years ago are still on the mind of people of course.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 16:43
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I don't think the media are generating an "anti-charter" feeling.

Its a well know fact that if you fly in less developed countries (from a regulatory perspective) you have a higher chance of having an incident. Look at the facts from the previous years and the trend is quite distinct. Travelling on a charter flight in these parts of the world probably raises those chances even higher.

Some, such as Jet Air in India, seem to be able to raise their game but a lot of the others cut as many corners as they can get away with.

Sadly, the travelling public as a whole, have complete faith in almost any form of oublic transport whether it be buses, trains or planes. Until that changes then accidents such as these will continue to take their toll and the swelling masses will still create a market for an ever increasing array of low cost operators.

Flash airlines may collapse after this incident but the need will not go away and they would be replaced but something very similar with a different name and probably 80% of the previous companies staff.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 17:28
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Flash airlines may collapse after this incident but the need will not go away and they would be replaced but something very similar with a different name and probably 80% of the previous companies staff.
I believe that Flash is already a reincarnation of the former Helipolis Airlines.

Charter passengers are often not told the operator in their pre-sales material (and may only be told obscurely at time of booking). The extent of this anonymity always seems to rise when a third-world operator is used, instead of an established Western European charter operator, which seems more than a coincidence. The loss of the Turkish-operated Birgenair 757 on a Dominican Republic to Germany flight springs to mind in this respect, as do holiday flights from the UK to Turkey etc. Often the only giveaway is the timings suggesting an aircraft operating from the destination instead of based in the UK.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 17:31
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Correct Norodnik.
And I am still amazed to see the lack of scruple of the Tour Operators, who despite the reserves from an Official Administration (Swiss FOCA) still put the safety of their clients in danger.
Yet, the complicated task in this business is to find the guilty - is it the French Tour Op, or the corresponding Op in Egypt?
I have the impression that too often Tour Ops don't care how you reach your destination. Proof is, in the lower-end "last minute" packages you often don't even know the name of the carrier when you buy it.
Last time I went to Sharm-el-Sheikh, we were expecting an Egyptair aircraft, and finally got to fly with an old "Air Luxor" 737 - without any painting - (apparently at that time an Egyptian Carrier, not the Portuguese one)
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 17:45
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If this incident brings rogue operators under closer scrutiny, where I am sure the travelling public will get a few surprises, then those 148 people would not have died in vain.

Unfortunately, I don't think it will happen as these air cowboys always find a way round regulations and sadly, passengers are often blinded by the low fare hype...

"You get what you pay for..." is as valid here as in anything else in this world...

As an example, Flash Airlines are still claiming a safe operation with pictures of smiling crew who may now not be longer with us on their website, while the Austrian Airlines website already has an auto pop-up window with a short description of the incident they had this morning at Munich with a contact number for relatives.

My company also spent a lot of resources on an Emergency Response Centre which hopefully we will never use. I would like to know if the Authorities enforce this requirement (and financial burden) on these rogue airlines as well...

Last edited by 320DRIVER; 5th Jan 2004 at 17:58.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 18:26
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The posts on this thread seem to be concentrating on the service track record of this airline and the likelyhood that this was a technical malfunction. However the evidence clearly shows that what happened to this aircarft was clearly catastrophic.

What happened to this aircraft happened suddenly with little or no warning to the crew.

The wreckage is spread over a small area which does not suggest a break up of the aircraft in flight. The fuselage seems to have entered the water generally as a whole but the small pieces of wreckage found so far suggest that there was no attempt at a controlled landing and the aeroplane was falling vertically at speed.

I gather that mostly body parts have been discovered which again suggests that the aircraft entered the water at speed and broke apart on impact with the surface.

I find it difficult to imagine that a catastophic technical failure such as a double engine flame out could have led to the aircarft entering the water in this way. Explosive decompression can be immediately ruled out due to the altitude at which the incident occurred. Aircraft icing leading to subsequent loss of control seems highly improbable.

The American Airlines A300 in New York 2001 has all the same hallmarks as this incident. I honestly believe that only a failure such as what happened then could have caused this tragedy.

But then they thought that was terrorism too at first.
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 18:47
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go_dj


Yes that's exactly what I'm suggesting. It's too big a coincidence that at a time of heightened airline security worldwide an aircraft should crash mysteriously meters from the British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

You should read the full report on "debka.com" about it. Anyway, I won't trust anything that the Egyptian officials will say on the matter as it will be pure totalitarian regime propaganda. They lied about Egypt Air 990, they'll lie about this one too.

An important question must be asked though: Is it time for European vacationers to only fly European airlines when flying to third world countries?
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 18:58
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French tour operators will have a hard time finding local charter capacities ,since last year alone nearly ten airlines were brought to bankrupcy in France including such important ones like Aéris,Euralair or Air Liberté.I don't want to blame Air France for this situation but it was a recognized fact that the manager of Air Liberté Jean Corbet acted as an Air France mole to bring down the airline. So who is to blame????
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Old 5th Jan 2004, 19:24
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My greatest surprise with this tragedy is that the reports from Egyptian & French 'authorities' that I have heard, seen or read in the news state that it is a terrible 'accident'.

Now so far the black boxes haven't been found, there has been no evidence offered as to what happened, the event took place at night and clearly the impact resulted in a lot of smal bits with the main wreckage 100's of feet under water. There were no mayday's or anything from the crew....

....yet this is a 'terrible accident'?


So on what evidence, pardon my ignorance I'm only a passenger, can anyone decide and then publicaly state that there was no other cause? Would it be better at this point to state 'cause unknown'?
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