Taiwan authorities call for grounding of ATR72s

Taiwan authorities call for grounding of ATR72s
A still image taken from an amateur video shot by a motorist shows a TransAsia Airways plane cartwheeling over a motorway soon after the turboprop ATR 72-600 aircraft took off in New Taipei City February 4, 2015.

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Following the TransAsia Airways Flight GE235 crash yesterday, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) announced that all ATR72-model planes in Taiwan are to be grounded.

The CAA requested that safety inspections be completed on 10 of TransAsia's ATR72 planes before Feb. 5. CAA approval is needed before any ATR72 planes can fly again.

Uni Air has to complete inspections on 12 of its ATR72 planes before Feb. 6, the CAA said.

Prior to the CAA request, the Kuomingtang (KMT) announced that it will not rule out the possibility of asking TransAsia Airways to ground all of its flights.

The opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said that rescue efforts are the priority at the moment and suggested that all planes undergo strict safety checks.

With two major accidents in the past year, many legislators proposed that TransAsia ground all flights, KMT Policy Committee Director Lai Shyh-bao said.

The accident draws attention the relocation of Taipei Songshan Airport, which Lai said requires further discussion as many foreign countries have small-scale city airports.

DPP caucus Secretary-General Tsai Chi-chang said that TransAsia Airways suffering two major flight accidents within the last year is "outrageous."

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) needs to investigate the case immediately, Tsai said.

Following an investigation of the crash, Tsai said he is not opposed to inviting the MOTC to DPP HQ to present a report on their findings.

Something to Be Thankful for

Having occurred in Tsai Cheng-yuan's electoral district, the KMT legislator said the fact that the plane did not crash into apartment buildings is something to be thankful for.

Legislator Tsai recalled the occasion when he presented a proposal to relocate the Songshan airport to then-Transportation Minister Mao Chi-kuo; which was rejected by Mao.

The accident proves that Mao's judgment was incorrect and that he should face the Songshan relocation issue head on, said the KMT legislator.

Sharing the sentiment, DPP Legislator Yao Wen-chih said that in the long run, the relocation of the airport is inevitable.

TransAsia's Response

TransAsia's Chief Executive Chen Hsin-te said they created an emergency response centre immediately after learning about the Flight GE235 crash.

Chen said that TransAsia authorities were also sent to the hospital to support injured passengers.

The airline also sent Shanghai- and Fuzhou-based employees to assist passenger families in Xiamen.

According to Chen, Flight GE235 was an ATR72-600 model, less than a year old and was flying under approved weather conditions.

Chen said that after last year's Penghu flight crash, TransAsia has implemented strict regulations for civilian flights so the airline is unsure of why the accident occurred.

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