Kish Crash Aftermath - Quick Inquiry, Quick Finding, Back to Business as Usual
Air crash probe report to be made public soon By Ramona Ruiz

15 February 2004


DUBAI - The UAE General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), which is currently conducting an investigation into the cause of the Iranian Kish Airlines crash on Tuesday, will soon disclose the primary report of its investigation to the media, according to a GCAA official.

The Press conference at the GCAA headquarters in Dubai was postponed yesterday until further notice. Mohammed Al Ghaith, Director-General of GCAA, will chair the meeting along

 with other aviation officials.

"We wanted to give you complete information, so we had decided to reschedule the conference to a later date. The GCAA is a federal autonomous body, set up to oversee all aviation-related activities, including air accidents. As the investigating body, we have already coordinated with the manufacturer of the aircraft in Holland in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations," the GCAA official told Khaleej Times.

Experts from the UAE and Iranian civil aviation authorities likewise began on February 11 their investigation on what caused an Iranian Kish Airline flight to crash in the UAE.

He added that the GCAA has set up a committee to oversee the investigations on airworthiness and flight safety. "We have also coordinated with the relevant authorities and offices on the state of operations, state of registry, and state of engine, among others," he said.

The aircraft was manufactured in Holland in 1991 or 1992, but was purchased by Kish Airline in 2001. The aircraft's engine, on the other hand, is from Canada, according to the official.

When asked to comment on media reports, which blamed pilot error for the plane crash, he said: "We cannot comment further on that. The accident investigation is in progress, and the GCAA is the competent authority, which would provide all the details of the plane crash. However, we advise the public to contact the GCAA on 04-2828270 if they have any vital information about the accident."

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Rule change will not hit airline business
By Ramona Ruiz

13 February 2004

DUBAI - Airlines have categorically stated that their business will not be affected by the cancellation of the law that visitors to the UAE must leave the country before re-entering with a new visa.

Kish Airlines will not be severely affected by the cancellation of visa-change flights as this facility is only one of its main businesses, according to an airline official.

Speaking to Khaleej Times yesterday, Mohammed Noufal, sales and marketing manager of Kish Airlines, said: "Visa-change flights facility is just one of our main businesses. We offer holiday packages and also cater to business travellers to Kish island. Visa change has been synonymous to Kish Airline for the last four to five years, but we also operate other flights to certain destinations and promote tourism in the mainland such as Isfahan. We have  daily flights to Bahrain, four weekly flights to Muscat, and flights from Teheran to Copenhagen."

He added that the airline even had plans of increasing its flights to Muscat from four to seven by the first week of March. "However, it remains to be seen whether we will push through with our plans after the accident," he admitted.

Mr Noufal stressed that the recent plane crash involving its Fokker-50 plane was an accident, and that it was not due to the age of the aircraft or the lack of maintenance to the aircraft. He said that Kish Airline's current fleet of eight aircraft has a maximum age of 10 years.

"The investigation has not been completed, and a negative perception of the airline has been portrayed. We hope that the media would give us the benefit of the doubt. We would like to emphasise that we will support the families of the passengers," he said.

Sabreen Sabry, Country Manager, UAE of Oman Air, said: "We appreciate the decision taken by the President, His Highness Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, to cancel the visa flights. Oman Air has a high frequency as it operates six to seven flights daily. This allows much flexibility for visa change passengers who would like to come back to Dubai on the next available flight to Dubai. Visa change is not a main segmentation for us and it does not constitute a high yield. We cater to business and leisure travellers, transit passengers and normal passengers. We can now allocate the seats taken by the visa change passengers to other passengers who connect from Oman to other destinations."

Chan Gammampila, Qatar Airways' District Sales Manager, Dubai and Northern Emirates, said: "Visa change flights have

 been operated by low-cost airlines, while Qatar Airways, Oman Air, Gulf Air and Emirates have some visa change passengers. Our visa change traffic has significantly been reduced and the new law will have minimal effects on Qatar Airways. In fact, we only have three to four visa change passengers a day. Our airline is a scheduled, commercial airline, and we operate flights to Doha and beyond to our network of 48 destinations."

Meanwhile, when asked to comment on the effect of the cancellation of visa change flights on the airline, a Queshm Air official told Khaleej Times: "We are still in shock. We have been deluged with calls from relatives of the dead passengers of the Kish Airline flight. We chartered that flight."

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