The increase in aircraft registrations in Malta has greatly increased the work of the Maltese Bureau for the Investigations of Air Accidents, which is facing an average of fifteen daily cases to investigate in Malta and abroad.
The bureau’s principle investigator, Captain Frank Zammit, said that the bureau had to substantially increase the insurance policy due to the growth in its responsibilities with the increase in aircraft registration in Malta.
Last Sunday’s aċċident at the airport, during which a small plane skidded on the runway and ended on the grass while landing, is one of some fifteen daily cases investigated by the Maltese bureau.
Captain Zammit said that they are obliged to investigate every accident by a Malta registered aircraft, apart from cases that occur in Maltese territory. He stated that after their registration in Malta, two A380 airplanes, which are among the biggest in the industry, the Bureau had to invest in a higher insurance policy.
“The insurance we have covers accidents up to €45 million; therefore BAAI has an insurance for any accident of a Malta registered aircraft and if we have to investigate, we do this. That is important for the business because it gives them rest of mind”.
Captain Zammit added that the bureau increased its human resources to meet the increasing demand. “As investigators, I as the principle investigator, two other qualified investigators, an aviation qualified medical doctor, a legal counsel and we also use a psychologist”.
One of the accidents investigated by the Maltese bureau occurred over 14,000 kilometres away from Malta, in Antarctica. In the accident, a worker was blasted away from the aircraft’s stairs due to a departing airplane’s blast.
Asked about an accident which occurred on the Malta International Airport’s runway last January, when two passenger planes hit each others’ wings, Captain Zammit said that various recommendations were made in its report. These included the installation of warning systems that indicate when aircraft are moving close to each other. He said that aircraft manufacturers have three months since the publication of the report to reply to the recommendations of the report.
Captain Zammit added that every investigation by any bureau are intended not to castigate anyone but to identify the fault so that the shortcomings that lead to an accident are corrected.