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Category: <span>Yemenia Air</span>

Yemenia Flight Makes Emergency Landing in Aden, Yemen

Yemenia flight IY-600 had to return and make an emergency landing in Aden, Yemen, on June 8th.

The Airbus A310-300 plane took off for Cairo, Egypt, but had to turn back after the crew needed to shut down one the engines due to an oil leak.

The plane landed back safely. All one hundred and eighty people aboard remained unharmed.

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A Disgraceful Attitude

Here are a couple of facts:

Yemenia Flight 626 was an International Airbus A310-324 from Sana’a, Yemen, to Moroni, Comoros, that crashed on 30 June 2009 killing 152.

French authorities charged Yemenia Airways with manslaughter over the Yemenia Airways crash.

A judicial source said that Yemenia’s Airbus A310 “should not have been allowed to fly”.

152 people died in the crash.

In spite of this, Yemenia announced they are “ready to challenge any allegation regarding the pilot’s competence, or the plane’s maintenance.”

They kept on flying a plane which was judged unsafe. Now Yemenia Airways is denying responsibility for the crash, which in all likelihood was a consequence of flying an unsafe plane.

Any way you look at it, no matter how vehemently they dismiss it, no matter how many times they make an “official” statement, in refusing responsibility for a plane crash on their watch —a plane crash which killed 152 people who trusted the airline to deliver them safely and which is clearly their responsibility—Yemenia Airways has displayed a disgraceful attitude.

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Will Yemenia Airways Be Held Accountable at Last?

In 2007 there was this Airbus A310 that failed to pass inspection in France and was therefore banned from French Airspace. The plane was still in use though. Yemenia Airlines quit flying the plane over French Airspace, limiting its routes to non-euro airspace like the hop from Sanaa to the Comoros.

Listen, I’ve heard some bad things about some planes but the descriptions I saw of this plane are so vivid I remember them, even though its been nearly five years. Frankly, the description sounded straight out of Romancing the Stone like the bus that takes Kathleen Turner (romance novelist Joan Wilder) to Cartagena, Colombia—crowded to the gills, livestock inside, seats rolling around, standing room only, everything that was portrayed in the movie, except (one hopes) people hanging off the outside of the plane. This rickety plane, which failed to meet safety standards continued to be in use until it crashed one stormy night in 2009.

Now, five years later, France is charging Yemenia Airlines with manslaughter.

I wonder at the timing. Apparently Yemenia Airlines is no longer on the EU banned list.

I wonder if they waited for Yemenia Airlines to become more solvent before they charged them.

I wonder if International Lease Finance Corporation is going to be held accountable. They leased the plane to Yemenia; and, like a father who hands his fifteen year old the keys to his car, they could have taken away the keys, or withheld them till the plane was brought up to code.

I wonder if the delay was five years worth of research, and maybe evidence found.

I wonder if another accident or enlightening incident happened that pointed the finger at Yemenia.

I wonder if it was pressure from the families of the 153 passengers and crew (and little Bahia Bakari the twelve year old miracle survivor) aboard that international flight from Sana’a, Yemen to Moroni, Comoros that crashed on 30 June 2009.

Pressure from the families brings change. I have a lot of confidence in family groups. Plane crash victims are united by a common cause, a cause which is ethical and pragmatic and yet impossible, because they are seeking justice when there can really be none. Because all these people want, if they could have their way, would be to have their loved ones back. They have the power of right on their side; and to make a galvanizing cause even more magnetic, they are fighting for the safety of every future airline passenger. I wish my friend Hans Ephraimson-Abt, who died last October, could be here to witness the charges being brought. He lost a daughter when her plane was shot down in 1983, and ever after made it his business to advocate for families. I think of him now because up until October, whenever I’d post an editorial concerning crashes, or family groups, he would always write back with encouragement, or some pithy bit of advice.

Maybe I should be objective. After all, helping families in crashes is my business. But when you’re on the front lines of aviation safety trying to get better treatment for victims and the families of victims, it doesn’t take long to feel very personal. There are a lot of people who saw those headlines that France is charging the carrier with manslaughter who think that after four and a half years, it is about time. I just hope that somehow the 152 victims—and Hans—could know that the responsible parties may yet be held accountable.

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June 30, Yemenia Flight 626

We remember on June 2009 when 152 people died aboard a Yemenia Airlines Airbus A310-300.

Yemenia Flight 626.

We remember.

The years pass and the headlines fade, but the families will never forget the loss of their loved ones, and neither should we.

The pilot was about to land on an airstrip in the Comores Islands when ATC lost contact.

The plane and all its passengers crashed into the ocean.

12-year old Bahia Bakari survived the crash, rescued after thirteen hours in the ocean, clinging to debris. She was and is a miracle.

The final report on Flight 626 concluded the crash was due to the crew’s inappropriate flight control inputs that led to an aerodynamic stall.

Crews inappropriate flight control inputs means pilot error. In this case, the pilot error was exacerbated by a nineteen year old plane in dubious condition, bad weather conditions (winds gusting to 64 km/h 40 mph; 35 kn) and a primitive airport.

Crashes like Yemenia should function like red lights. The only way they make sense is if when they happen, we stop and consider those who were lost, and investigate what went wrong. On behalf of safety, the aviation industry should mandate to use every atom of what is discovered to prevent future accidents. The industry in general, and the airlines in specific should make changes that will help prevent future accidents.

Pilot error means airlines like Yemenia are still having problems training pilots. Still problems in the cockpit. Sadly, conditions still exist for more accidents like this in Yemenia’s future.

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Yemenia Spotless Record? Really?

I glance at a lot of news sites, mostly skimming just to make sure the facts are the same across the board, and I don’t usually stop and make comments about one particular site, or other. I’m usually focused on the message, not the messenger.

But once in a while, I come across erroneous content.

What should I do when I come across a site that posts an article that says up till the crash in the Comoros, Yemenia Airlines had an unblemished record?

What world is that staff reporter living in? Who gave them that information? Because it’s wrong.

Today’s Yemenia was formerly Yemen Airlines and Yemen Arab Airlines and Yemen Airways. (There may be more DBA names I’m leaving out.)

This airline, rebranded over and over, has had at least 11 crashes and a couple of hijackings thrown in (1973 and 1975.) Just take a look at the actual record.

And there were EU Safety sanctions in JUL 2008: EU safety action (Safety deficiencies noted by ramp inspections in several countries; Yemenia took corrective actions.); on JUL 2009: EU safety action (The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) suspended the maintenance organisation approval EASA.145.0177 issued to Yemenia Yemen Airways, due to unresolved safety deficiencies.) On JUL 2009: EU safety action (The authorities of France suspended the certificates of airworthiness of the aircraft of type Airbus A310 registered in France (F-OHPR and F-OHPS) and operated by the carrier.) On NOV 2009: EU safety action (Member States will verify systematically the effective compliance of Yemenia with the relevant safety standards through the prioritisation of ramp inspections to be carried out on aircraft of this carrier.)

The EU is right to be so demanding. Yemenia Airlines has a dangerous record, no matter what the airline is called. Lack of safety is the reason the airline has been on the EU blacklist. Don’t the people of Yemen deserve a safe carrier?

(See below)

Hijacks first:

  • 14-SEP-1994——Alyemda (Merged with Yemenia—— Boeing 737-2R4C Hijacker(s) demanded to be taken to Saudi Arabia. Duration of the hijacking: less than 1 day.

  • 25 August 1973——a Yemen Airlines Douglas DC-6 was hijacked during a passenger flight from Ta’izz to Asmara. The perpetrator forced the pilots to divert the aircraft with fifteen other passenger and six crew members on board to Kuwait Airport, for which a refueling stop at Djibouti Airport turned out to be necessary. In Kuwait, the hijacker surrendered to local police forces.
  • 23 February 1975——a Yemen Airlines DC-3 was hijacked during a flight from Al Hudaydah to Sana’a and forced to land at an airport in Saudi Arabia. There, the aircraft was stormed and the perpetrator overpowered.
  • 27-AUG-1993——Alyemda (Merged with Yemenia)—— Boeing 737-2R4C An Alyemda Boeing 737 aircraft was hijacked during a domestic flight from Riyan Airport (RIY) to Al Ghaydah Airport The hijacker, a Yemeni soldier who reportedly was armed with a handgun and a hand grenade, demanded to be taken to either Kuwait or Oman. The pilot convinced the hijacker that a refueling stop was necessary.
  • 20-JAN-1983——Alyemda (Merged with Yemenia)—— Boeing 707-300 Three hijackers forced the aircraft to land at Djibouti. After the aircraft landed a gun battle erupted inside the aircraft and two passengers were reportedly wounded. The hijackers subsequently surrendered and were taken Into custody by Djibouti authorities. The hijackers were convicted of air piracy in Djibouti and reportedly sentenced to six months In prison. This was suspended.
  • 22-AUG-1972——Alyemda (Merged with Yemenia)—— Douglas DC-6 Three passengers hijacked the Alyemda plane en route between Beirut (BEY) and Cairo. The flight diverted to Nicosia (NIC), Cyprus. The hijackers said that they belonged to a group named the Eagles of National Unity in South Yemen. After a three hour refueling stop the airplane continued to Benghazi (BEN), Libya. The hijackers surrendered to Libyan authorities.
  • 15-AUG-1985——Alyemda (Merged with Yemenia)—— Boeing 707-336C Climbing through FL230, water inadvertently spilled on the autopilot panel and the crew had to disengage the autopilot because the stabilizer trim wheel started to rotate. Control was lost as the plane pitched up and down. Control was regained at 1000 feet and an emergency landing was carried out at Aden.
  • 09-MAY-1982——Alyemda (Merged with Yemenia)—— DHC-7-103 A Dash 7 passenger plane, operated by Alyemda, crashed into the sea some 2 km from the Aden International Airport (ADE), Yemen. Of the 49 occupants, 23 were killed. The pilot had reported the runway in sight at a distance of 9 nautical miles (17 km) and was cleared to report on final for runway 26. The wind was reported 240 degrees at 5 knots. The aircraft reported short final, was sighted by the tower and cleared to land, then lost altitude andcrashed in the sea.
  • 26-JAN-1982——Alyemda (Merged with Yemenia)——The Boeing 707 was flying a cargo of military supplies from Libya to Damascus when it was attacked by an Iraqi or Israeli fighter plane. The crippled freighter managed to land at Damascus, but was considered damaged beyond repair.
  • 01-MAR-1977——Alyemda (Merged with Yemenia)—— Douglas C-47A-25-DK 7O-ABF Crashed into the sea off Aden. 19 fatalities, 19 aboard
  • 17-SEP-1975——Alyemda (Merged with Yemenia)—— Douglas DC-3 Nose, front fuselage and propellers where damaged following a heavy landing. Aviation News reported the accident happened on Sept. 16
  • 3 November 1958——a Yemen Airlines Douglas C-47 Skytrain #YE-AAB crashed near in Italy, killing eight people on board. The aircraft had been on a flight from Rome Ciampino Airport to Yemen with a planned stopover at Belgrade, carrying the Yemenite Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
  • 19 March 1969——a Yemen Airlines C-47 (registered 4W-AAS) crashed near Ta’izz during a post-maintenance test flight, killing the four occupants. It turned out that the elevator of the aircraft did work properly. Repair work had been done on that part, because it had been damaged some days earlier in a ground collision.
  • 16 September 1971——a Yemen Airlines C-47 (registered 4W-ABI) crashed near Rajince, Serbia when it encountered severe icing conditions, killing the five people on board. The aircraft had been on a multi-stopover flight from Yemen to Europe and had just departed Belgrade Airport.
  • 1 November 1972——a Yemen Airlines Douglas DC-3 (registered 4W-ABJ) was destroyed in a crash-landing at an airfield near Beihan.
  • 13 December 1973——a Yemen Airlines DC-3 (registered 4W-ABR) crashed near Ta’izz.
  • 14 November 1978——a Yemen Airlines C-47 (registered 4W-ABY) was damaged beyond repair in a heavy landing at an airfield near Ma’rib.
  • 26 June 2000——a Yemenia Boeing 737-200C, registered 7O-ACQ, was damaged beyond repair when it veered off the runway upon landing at Khartoum International Airport following a cargo flight from Yemen. Despite their plans to carry out a runway 36 approach, the crew landed straight-in on runway 18. The aircraft departed the side of the runway. The nose gear collapsed as it contacted obstructions.
  • 21 January 2001——a Yemenia Flight 448, a Boeing 727-200 with 91 passengers and 10 crew on board, was hijacked 15 minutes into a flight from Sana’a to Ta’izz by an Iraqi man. The plane was forced to land at Djibouti-Ambouli International Airport, where the perpetrator was overpowered by the crew.
  • 1 August 2001——a Yemenia Boeing 727-200 (registered 7O-ACW) was damaged beyond economic repair when it overran the runway upon landing at Asmara International Airport following a flight from Sana’a with 107 passengers and four crew on board, none of whom were significantly injured.
  • 30 June 2009——a Yemenia Flight 626 from Sana’a to Moroni, Comoros crashed into the sea shortly before landing. Of the 142 passengers and eleven crew that had been on the Airbus A310-300 with the registration 7O-ADJ,[23] only a 12-year-old girl, Bahia Bakari, was recovered, alive and conscious, although suffering from extreme tiredness and hypothermia, cuts to her face and a fractured collar-bone.

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Yemenia Flight 626, Comoros, Updated

The BEA sent this letter to the president of the Inquiry committee, the Ministries of Communications of Moroni, New technology, Transportation and tourism (Loosely translated. For the original, click the link below the letter):

Re: Yemenia Flight 626
Monsieur President,

I have read the first progress report on flight IY626 that crashed June 29, 2009 during the landing procedure at the airport in Moroni. This report is dated June 25, 2011 but has not, to my knowledge been released to date.

This report contains the facts that for the most part, were already available three months after the accident.

However, the BEA addressed you in May 2010 regarding the publication of a progress report in the context of the first anniversary of the accident. This note has been taken into consideration after a year.

No action improving safety of flights has been recommended by your Commission which is the Commission’s responsibility.

I recall that France, through the intermediary of BEA, has been deeply involved in this investigation. The underwater research was funded by France for $ 3 M.

The fact that the commission has not yet begun to use the information collected from its recorders, two years after reading them. This is inacceptible.

I urge you that the investigation that you lead henceforth be conducted with diligence and in accordance with international provisions.

I would be grateful for the Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry to please ensure that is has established a plan to lead to the publication of a final report within the best times.

In the meantime, I urge you to accept the assurances of my highest consideration.

Director of the BEA
Jean-Paul Troadec


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Yemenia Flight 626 Ongoing Investigation

Some airlines refuse to perform night approaches to the Moroni airport in the Comoros islands on the western coast of Grande Comoros. The airport is a non-redar environment, which means any inbound plane must use an instrument approach.

That instrument approach was fatal for Flight 626, which crashed on June 30, nearly 2 years ago.

International Lease Finance Corporation first leased the Airbus 310 to Air Liberté and from September 1999 to Yemenia airlines. In 2007, the plane had failed French inspections and was banned from French airspace. The French passengers aboard the flight had transferred to Flight 626 at Sana’a

The crash is under investigation.

Description of the runways of Moroni Airport:

Length: 2900 meters Runway 02 is equipped with an automatic instrument landing system (ILS) Runway 20 is equipped with VOR-DME system (VHF Omni-directional Range navigation system, and Distance Measuring Equipment)

work below cited from the Internet Wire, Feb 15, 2011 pNA
LOS ANGELES, CA, Feb 15, 2011 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — For the families of the victims of the Yemenia Airlines flight 626 plane crash on June 30, 2009, a group of California law firms has filed case BC452279 in Los Angeles Superior Court against International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). The Airbus A310 leased by ILFC to Yemenia airlines crashed on approach to Prince Said Ibrahim International Airport, in Moroni, Comoros.

The case charges both ILFC and the unnamed principals whose negligence contributed to the crash that killed a hundred and fifty-two individuals, and nearly killed the one survivor, 12-year-old Bahia Bakari who was rescued after spending thirteen hours adrift in the Indian Ocean.

Plaintiffs assert that Yemenia Airlines was “incompetent, unfit, inexperienced and/or reckless in its operation as an air carrier,” which can be ascertained by looking at the airline’s “long and notorious history of poor maintenance on an epic scale, poor pilot training and total lack of compliance with minimum standards of safety at every level of the company from 1999 to the present” (including but not limited to substandard or non-existent SARP, training, inspections, pilot certification and supervision, plane maintenance and airworthiness, and in-house regulations/documentation.) As the leasing agency ILFC is responsible for seeing they lease to responsible airline operators.

Yemenia Airlines Flight 749 flew from Marseille to Sana’a International Airport, where passengers disembarked from a different airbus, and boarded Flight 626 Airbus A310 (70-ADJ). This second Airbus had avoided European airspace since an inspection in 2007 revealed it as being in noncompliance with ICAO standards.

“We expect that attorneys representing other families in France will want their clients to join this lawsuit in the United States,” explains George Hatcher, whose Air Crash Consultants firm provides international communications support, investigative, paralegal and claims management services in the case.

The investigation is ongoing.

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Yemenia Airways Suspends Flights from Egypt

With all the protests going on in Egypt, Yemeni Airways suspended flights from Cairo. Hundreds of Yemeni citizens were left stranded at Cairo International Airport—with a curfew imposed on the city.

As protests continue, stranded passengers look to government embassies and outside sources to bring pressure on Yemenia Airways to resume flights, at least until those stuck in Cairo have made their way out of harm’s way.

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Comoros: Crash Averted

Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Sam Chui

What: Yemenia Airbus A330-200 en route from Djibouti to Moroni Comoros
Air Austral Boeing 777-200 en route from Lyon to Saint Denis
Where: Moroni, Comoros
When: Aug 24 2010
Who: 350 passengers aboard the Boeing
Why: Both flights were in the air, the Airbus flying at a higher altitude. The Airbus unexpectedly descended without ATC clearance.

The Boeing received a TCAS resolution advisory, to which they immediately responded, averting a collision.

George’s Point of View

I am reminded of the sad and tragic events of June 30, 2009, when Air Yemenia failed to make a safe landing and killed everyone aboard but Bahia Bakari.

Confusion again reigns in Moroni, Comoros airspace. I am grateful for the successful TCAS resolution/response. Apologies if the date is in error, as we find different dates published for this averted catastrophe.


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Yemenia Jet Engine Explodes

Pictured: A Yemenia – Yemen Airways Boeing 737-8Q8
Click to view full size photo at Airliners.net
Contact photographer Andre Oferta

What: Yemenia Boeing 737-800 en route from Sana’a to Cairo
Where: Sana’a International Airport
When: Dec 22m 2009
Who: not available
Why: About thirty minutes after taking off from Sana’a for Cairo, one of the jet’s engines exploded.

The plane returned to Sana’a, and made a safe landing. No one aboard was reported as being injured. Passengers waited almost 3 hours for a replacement flight.

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Still not EU Blacklisted

Does Yemenia Airlines (or backers) have Deeper Pockets?

After months of being under the public eye following the loss of an Airbus A310 in the Comoros, Yemenia Airlines has still not been formally blacklisted. The plane was inspected in 2007 by the French Direction Générale de l’Aviation Civile, and found to have a number of faults. It was never re-inspected because the operators of that plane stopped flying within French airspace. (They flew up to French airspace, unloaded their passengers, took on new passengers and flew back.) The faults that failed French standards continued to be inflicted on non-French airspace.

There are 15 countries forbidden from conducting European Union operations.

Yemenia Airlines is looking for a third party to adjudicate in the Comoros accident investigation, citing “harassment” by French government officials has followed the crash, which is being handled by France’s BEA investigation agency. While simultaneously complaining about BEA harassment , Yemenia obligated itself for $700 million for 10 A320s for delivery from late 2011.

Nothing like backroom deals to keep the world going round.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Yemenia Air Under Scrutiny by Investigative Team

Yemenia Air Airbus 310 flight 626 en route from Yemen’s capital Sanaa to the Comoros Islands crashed on the second pass to land at the ill-equipped airport during heavy weather.

Westlake Village, California (Press Release) July 8, 2009 — A lawyer has contacted George Hatcher to dispatch a team of his consultant staff to work on the Yemenia Air crash. The latest development in this recent aviation disaster is that the thirteen bodies found by fishermen 500 miles away from the Comoros Islands may be victims who have drifted from the Yemenia Airbus crash. On its second pass at attempting a landing at the airport during a fearsome storm off the Comoros, the Yemenia Airlines Airbus flew into the ocean, killing 141 passengers and 11 crew members. This is the second Airbus lost at sea in a single month, and the crash points to an ominous trend toward a lessening of safety in aviation. Bahia’s survival and thirteen hour ordeal clutching at floating debris while suffering a broken collarbone, and too weak to climb into the rescue boat is one that clutches at our heartstrings, especially when we find out that her mother died in the crash. Bahia was flown back to her family in Marseilles. But that is not the end of the story.

Almost half of the dead were French citizens; and French citizens are up in arms over Yemenia Air. Having failed required criteria, the Airbus involved in the incident was under scrutiny, and not allowed to fly in French airspace; but the plane was allowed to regularly fly to Comoros, a poor island society with an ill-equipped airport. There is culpability to be assigned here, though it is all speculation until the black boxes are found. A 40 year veteran of litigation investigation and evaluation (including aviation,) George Hatcher explains that he was contacted by a lawyer working, “on behalf of some families, and we have dispatched a team there to assist.”

The thirteen bodies that were just found washed ashore on “Mafia Island,” some 500 miles from the site of the crash. A wing with “Airbus” scribed on it, and a plane seat were found in close proximity to the bodies. However, the black boxes have NOT been found yet; and the vast distance that the wreckage traveled bodes ill for the prospects of finding them.

There is already a group organized to protest the substandard plane accommodations. Spokesperson Farid Solihi of the protest group “SOS voyage aux Comores” has been an outspoken detractor of intolerable conditions aboard flights to and from Comoros. Hopefully the Hatcher team will be able to make contact with Solihi or some other “SOS voyage aux Comores” member.

About George Hatcher
George Hatcher is an independent generalist, a consultant dedicated to the support of the victims of aviation incidents or accidents. Known internationally, Hatcher works with well known lawyers, and develops crack teams to help support litigation, communication, and safety initiatives. To read further about the company, visit http://aircrashconsultants.com

Contact: george@georgehatcher.com
Aviation Consultants

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Comoran Crash Update:

Now that the beacons have been heard, French Navy Divers at Comoros have begun following up the search. On the 12th, their search will be assisted by underwater robotic technology.

Only one survivor was found, 12 year old Bahia Bakari; and she has gone back to France to her father. Her mother was killed in the crash, and Bahia sustained a broken collarbone.

The entire island is in mourning; plus there is some local disquiet because the plane that crash had been considered unfit to fly in French and European airspace, but was still allowed to fly to Comoros. (Even though the average income is $300 a year, they are not second class citizens.)

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