By Tim Culpan and Clement Tan
Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Taiwan aviation officials agreed last month to TransAsia Airways Corp.’s request to push back enforcement of a new rule aimed at forcing them to have more time to conduct pre-flight checks.
Authorities delayed until March 1 their implementation of minimum transit time requirements, introduced this year after a fatal crash on Taiwan’s Penghu islands in July, because the airline had already published its schedule for January and February, Clark Lin, director of flight standards at the Civil Aeronautics Administration told Bloomberg News.
Enforcement of the new rule, which applies only to TransAsia and its fleet of ATR 72 aircraft, would not necessarily have prevented last week’s fatal crash, he said.
Flight GE-235, with aircraft registration No. B-22816, departed Taipei’s Songshan airport on Feb. 4 for the pilots’ second trip to Kinmen near China that morning before crashing four minutes later in the nearby Keelung River. A review of the aircraft’s Technical Log Book entries, which were kept by TransAsia and released by the CAA, show the pilots may have spent just 20 minutes at the gate in Kinmen while fuel was added, before returning to Taipei.
At least 40 people have been confirmed dead and three are still missing after pilots responded to engine warning alarms before the aircraft plunged into the water.