Experts speculate AirAsia incident response a “smokescreen”


GOLD COAST: Air Asia X flight D7207 bound for Kuala Lumpur from Coolangatta airport encountered critical engine concerns shortly after take or; or during. This lead to the declaration of a ‘MAYDAY’. The A330 with a full load of passengers landed safely in Brisbane shortly after.

In a statement received by a spokesperson from AirAsia to the Airline Insider, cited a “double bird strike”, presumably plovers. However an ‘expert’ from Strategic Aviation Solutions, Neil Hansford, has speculated the response from AirAsia is, in his opinion, a “smokescreen”.

PHOTO: Passengers said they saw flames coming out of the engine Source: ABC News

Mr Hansford believes the response from Air Asia was ‘suspicious’, especially since Coolangatta Airport spends large amounts of money to keep birds away from the airstrip.

“The maintenance of a bird-free environment on airport land is the responsibility of the airport.”

Mr Hansford said only large sea birds could have caused that extent of damage, and he doubted they would have been flying over the airport at that time of night.

“There’s a difference between bending a blade and detaching a blade, which is exactly the situation that Air Asia had coming out of Perth within the last week,” he said.

“The links aren’t complete for me. I hope this is not a smoke screen.”

He said when a plane engine was certified, it had frozen chickens thrown at it to ensure it was able to cope.

“If I look at the engine here, there’s blades missing, which I find a little suspicious, and I also find suspicious the fact that the airline is saying that they’ve found carcasses on the runway,” he said.

“AirAsia would have had no access to the runway. That would have been something determined by Gold Coast Airports.

Avisure, which is the company contracted to keep birds away from the airport said remnants of a bird had been found on the runway.

But Phil Shaw from Avisure said he could not say exactly what happened until he saw the engine.

“There [are] remnants found on the runway, from the evidence so far it would suggest it is very likely to be a bird strike of some sort.”

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said it was investigating the Air Asia X plane’s engine failure.