Trinidad: US$1m to fix crashed CAL aircraft – Imbert

The damaged CAL aircraft at Piarco International Airport on Wednesday.

(Trinidad Guardian) The dam­age to one of Caribbean Air­lines’ (CAL) ATR air­craft will cost the State US$1 mil­lion to re­pair, a cost which the act­ing Prime Min­is­ter Colm Im­bert has de­scribed as a “pre­lim­i­nary es­ti­mate.”

Im­bert gave the fig­ure at yes­ter­day’s post-Cab­i­net me­dia brief­ing at the Diplo­mat­ic Cen­tre in St Ann’s, as he ad­dressed is­sues sur­round­ing the ac­ci­dent which dam­aged the air­craft’s nose. He said while the cause of the ac­ci­dent is yet un­known.

“I have re­ceived a pre­lim­i­nary re­port…it would be pre­ma­ture at this point in time to ven­ture spec­u­la­tion as to what caused the ac­ci­dent there could be many rea­sons,” he said.

Im­bert said the col­li­sion in­to the wall of the ter­mi­nal build­ing at the Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port caused dam­age to the

air­craft’s nose and oth­er parts of the en­gine.

Im­bert said the air­craft, which was ser­vic­ing the lo­cal air­bridge, was be­ing tak­en to the hang­ar for main­te­nance when the ac­ci­dent oc­curred, adding that it will be out of ser­vice for the next three months. He added that the Civ­il Avi­a­tion Au­thor­i­ty and CAL are in the midst of a “very in-depth in­ves­ti­ga­tion to de­ter­mine ex­act­ly what tran­spired and of course al­so to as­sess the dam­age to the air­craft.”

Asked what dam­age the build­ing sus­tained, Im­bert said he was not told but sus­pect­ed that it would have been min­i­mal as he ex­plained the area at the front of the air­craft was “soft.”

How­ev­er, Im­bert point­ed out that be­fore this lat­est in­ci­dent To­ba­go House of As­sem­bly (THA) of­fi­cials had vis­it­ed him and asked the Min­istry of Fi­nance to con­sid­er fi­nanc­ing to lease an ad­di­tion­al ATR air­craft for the East­er sea­son and Ju­ly/Au­gust va­ca­tion.

“CAL had al­ready reached quite far in this ex­er­cise…they are en­gaged in dis­cus­sions with LI­AT who has a sim­i­lar air­craft that is avail­able to what CAL op­er­ates…sim­i­lar ATR air­craft. I have asked them to ac­cel­er­ate and fi­nalise that arrange­ment, whether it is LI­AT or an­oth­er provider, so that the air­bridge would have its full com­ple­ment of air­craft in the short­est pos­si­ble time and al­so the air­craft would be avail­able for re­gion­al ser­vices,” Im­bert said.

“This does not ad­dress the is­sue that the THA raised with me, this is just a sub­sti­tu­tion, so I have asked Caribbean Air­lines to see whether we have to look at an­oth­er air­craft for peak pe­ri­ods but the in­for­ma­tion would come in short or­der. THA had asked for a wet lease of an­oth­er air­craft for East­er, which we ex­pect to bring on board be­fore the end of this month.”

Ac­cord­ing to the head of CAL’s cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions Dionne Ligoure, via a re­lease, the in­ci­dent oc­curred at about 11.15 pm on Wednes­day and in­volved one of its ATR-72 air­craft, 9Y TTA. Ligoure said the air­craft was be­ing tax­ied from the ramp to an air­craft hangar when it came in­to con­tact with the ter­mi­nal build­ing’s wall. The air­craft was not in ac­tive ser­vice and there were no pas­sen­gers or crew on board.

“The ex­tent of dam­age to the air­craft is be­ing as­sessed and it has been with­drawn from ser­vice. There were no in­juries to any per­son­nel,” the re­lease said.

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