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Guest jaapu

Do you think it is safe to fly the Low (or No) Budget airlines?

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It was discussed a bit below I believe, but there have been new developments.I was wondering if you think it is safe to fly the low budget airlines as they seem to be having problems regularly. A new issue is that you will no know what you fly until you board.Last week Phuket Air had it's landing rights in Amsterdam suspended after several incidents and flying with a pilot with an expired medical test.This week Onur Air flew from Amsterdam to Turkey with two ancient Lockheed Tristars chartered from Sierra Leona and Kirchizstan, and registered to a Jordanian Airline. After checkup apparently one was told not to return in Dutch Airspace again. There have been more incidents with this airline; in 2003 an MD-88 overran the end of the runway in Groningen Airport after an aborted take-off and even this week another Onur Air plane returned to Amsterdam after an engin fire. Onur Air flies to Turkey with holiday guests paying less for a week holiday all-inclusive that a single night in a decent hotel in Europe would cost.It seems a bit strange to me that we invest a fortune in pensions and medical care, but to save just a few dollars we are willing to step into an airplane of very dubious quality to say the least. Or am I wrong and is the international quality inspection system strong enough to prevent poor maintenance accidents?Very curious to hear your expert opinions.Jaap

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Most people don't have a clue about what aircraft or even airline they'll be using when they book their vacations, and wouldn't recognise a 3rd rate airline like Onur or Fly Air for what it is even if they did know what airline they'd get.The danger with these airlines isn't getting out of Dutch (or other EU or north American) airports safely, it's getting back safely.The aircraft won't be allowed to take off from Schiphol if its papers aren't in order, but some other countries aren't so strict (thus that Phucket air aircraft could fly to Schiphol with an illegal crew but couldn't get back with that crew).Personally I wouldn't book a ticket on such airlines unless there were no choice (say they're the only airline that flies to a place I MUST get to from pretty much anywhere). I'd certainly at this stage not book a vacation to Turkey unless I knew for a fact I'd be flying KLM, Pegasus, THY, or Transavia and have that guaranteed on paper at time of booking.

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Hi Jaap,I think you might be right about this very low budget airlines but I think we need to make a distinction here between low budget and, say airlines like Air Transat, which offer lower rates than competitors but are still reliable. I had participated in a similar article in the www.pprune.org forum and found that Air Transat, despite their rudder problems with the Airbus A300/A310 are one of the best airlines to work for employees and that they seem to have a decent safety record based on the feedback from the forum users (though I haven't verified it myself.)I think the examples of the airlines you are giving are extreme cases and they should be regulated or put out of business. I am originally Turkish but certainly have no favouritism towards anything which is Turkish by any means. In fact, even Turkish Airlines (THY) was being discussed and critisized for its safety and maintenance record at pprune.org after several incidents involving what I believe were either badly maintained or aged CRJs.John

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I can (unfortunately) tell you as a former aircraft mech for a US major carrier, they still sent out the heavy maintenance inspections to 3rd world countries to save a buck, and shortly after returning, we would find major things wrong with the planes that should definitely have been caught in those inspections. So even if you go with a major airline, you can't be sure that greed hasn't eroded safety levels within the system....

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Xmech,That's worrisome. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the airline's OWN inspectors were sent to 3rd World countries but did not catch these problems, or were these local inspectors from that country but working for the airline?John

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I Agree about Air Transat. I've flown with them about 6 times, and I'd happily do it again, I even flew on the exact aircraft that lost the rudder, last may. I'm heading to Orlando on Saturday, and booked Air Canada, ONLY because Air Transat didn't have their May Pricing out when I booked, otherwise I'd have gone with them.

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Umm to explain it better, the whole system runs on the various regulatory bodies 'approvals and authorisations'. Between the various bodies there is a loose understanding that if relevant like for like 'approvals' are granted by regulator 'A' in country 'A' then they are aslo deemed satisfactory by regulator 'B' in country 'B' for aeroplanes from country 'B' (OK there are slight differences but I'm trying to keep this simple for the non-aviation professionals')Usually when outsourcing maintenance,an airline or its' maintenance provider will have to check that the repair station they wish to use comes up to standard, and an agreement or contract will be made stipulating the nature of work required etc. and the expected 'return to service' date of the aeroplane.The airline will then deliver its' aeroplane to the maintenance provider on the due date to commence the check, and is not requiredhave any direct contact with what goes on once the hangar doors' are closed until the aeroplane comes out at end of check. The airlinedoes not have to send its' staff inspectors to keep a watchover what goes on in the hangar 'behind closed doors', many do, some,unfortunately, to save budget, do not.Speaking personally, on current trend it would be wise to avoid anything that originates in the former communist bloc and the poorer states of southern america, africa and the far east.:-wavePete

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I'm fairly certain the system is set up so that the airline sends a representative to the maintenance facility once a year, and he peruses their documents and facilities, gets wined and dined etc.(wink, wink, nudge, nudge), and then approves the facility as within the requirements necessary. I don't think an airline rep is there on a regular basis.It is as so many other things in this world, I really hate to drag the politics into this, but as everything else in the U.S., it's all about the money and the greed. All that matters is the money. 'It's safe. There haven't been any crashes.' Ugh! I could go on and on but I'll spare you...While I was fortunate enough to find a job doing aircraft engine repair, I'm looking into studying medical X-ray or other imaging tech, as I believe it won't be long before the only jobs left in U.S. will be service, medical, and stock holder. While I'm glad people in other less well-off places get jobs, I feel they are being taken advantage of, with still poor wages, and worse sometimes dangerous working conditions. Hence my sig... (A joke before I go. How can you tell if a politician is lying? His lips are moving.)Apologies for getting so political. I just saw a news report of all the ways our government is leaving our borders unprotected......

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Pretty much the same story this side of the big pond,jobs being exported with no thought given to long term safety and training standards.There's quite a discussion on this on-going at the moment via the 'CHIRP' (UK) scheme for human factors incident reporting.:-wavePete

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Low Budget Airlines? Sounds to me like any US airline. They will cut any costs possible to make a profit. And they have incidents of their own, but they also have high paid lawyers to make sure they never see the news

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Ryanair, an Irish-based budget airline had a couple of incidents. The extracts below are from the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) formal reports which are written in very low-key language and concentrate on the facts while not apportioning blame.In the first, cabin crew had difficulty opening the emergency doors following a fire because of the forces required. The AAIB commented that: "At the time of the incident, whilst a few of the new entrant cabin crew personnal would operate the emergency exit doors in the armed mode during Conversion and Differences training, most would not. For the latter the door operating forces which they encounted during training were considerably less than those that would be enountered in a real evacuation with an armed evacuation slide. Although their instruction was supplemented with the adice that the fully rigged door would be more resistant to opening in the real event because of the integral slide deployement, during training they would have acquired no sense of the forces they would normally encounter trying to open an armed door."The training requirement in JAR-OPS 1.0010 that: "An operator shall ensure that... each cabin crew member operates and actually opens all normal and emergency exits for passenger evacuation in an aeroplane or representative training device.Ryanair argued that its training was in accordance the JAR because JAR doesn't actually state a need to operate these exits in all modes of operation. Common sense suggests that they should be operated in the normal mode with armed slides.Also, the cabin crew managed to evacuate six passengers on the the wing where the fire was. Fire fighters had to tell them to re-enter the aircraft and leave on the other side.In another report relating to an ATC error in which, to be fair Ryanair, were not directly involved, AAIB commented on:"the company culture of expiditious taxying" and noted that the Ryanair aircraft had averaged 33kt when taxying when the airport speed limit was 30kts. Ryanair pays bonuses to staff for maintaining time-keeping.

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>In another report relating to an ATC error in which, to be>fair Ryanair, were not directly involved, AAIB commented on:>>"the company culture of expiditious taxying" and noted that>the Ryanair aircraft had averaged 33kt when taxying when the>airport speed limit was 30kts. Ryanair pays bonuses to staff>for maintaining time-keeping.>>I guess we can expect formula 1 type front and rear retractable spoilers on future planes to make a taxi speed of 80 knots possible? On the other hand, why not take off directly from the taxi strip? Saves a lot of time. I have to admit it is boring on large airfields like Amsterdam, you sometimes wonder why they take off at all and don't drive all the way as it looks as if you're half-way anyhow.Meanwhile Onur Air blasted several tires during an emergency break following an aborted take-off. Passengers had a twelve hour delay.Jaap

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The Belgian transport minister has entered the fray surrounding Turkish airline, Onur Air. On Thursday, Dutch and German authorities grounded the airline, citing "serious safety deficiencies."Belgium's Transport Minister Renaat Landuyt said authorities planned to step up inspections of planes belonging to Onur Air banned from flying in several European countries for safety reasons."Every plane will be checked thoroughly. We do not want to take any risks," Landuyt told the Belga news agency late Friday.His comments came after Dutch, German, French and Swiss authorities announced this week that they were banning Onur Air flights because of safety concerns.Dutch authorities informed the Istanbul-based Onur Air that it had been grounded for a month due to "serious safety deficiencies observed in respect of aircraft, operational procedures and aircraft handling" Onur Air's response is:"The safety claims are not fair. We ourselves would not allow a plane to fly if it had any faults" Who would you believe???

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Well, given that Onur has been banned by not just the Dutch but the Germans, French, and Swiss as well says enough...Onur claims the Dutch just want to get rid of them to give their own airlines a larger share of the market.That however is a bogus argument for 2 reasons:1) those airlines are already overworked during the summer season and can't handle the extra load.2) the Turkish authorities won't allow more foreign aircraft, instead telling Dutch tour operators to choose another Turkish carrier instead.The fact that Onur claims they've no clue as to where they aren't safe and where they're flying illegally tells me enough. They obviously have no clue as to what the rules are...

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