If the government wanted, it could release the investigation report into the Airblue crash – which has been complete for months – without waiting for comments from international aviation companies, officials of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) told The Express Tribune.
The investigation report into the Airblue flight ED 202 crash has been pending with the ministry of defence since March 2011, a senior CAA official said on the condition of anonymity. According to the official, a CAA team carried out an investigation and submitted its report to the ministry of defence in March.
Interestingly, the CAA just announced the submission of its investigation report into the Airblue tragedy to the federal government on Thursday – the first anniversary of the Airblue crash.
A press release issued by CAA suggested that all aspects of the incident have been analysed, although nothing specific to the contents of the inquiry report, such as why the plane crashed or whether any responsibility has been determined, was mentioned.
However, the statement clearly states that the report will not yet be released: “The investigation report will be released on the receipt of comments from State of Manufacture and State of design namely BEA-France, Airbus France, NTSB-USA, IAE-USA and BFU Germany.”
Yet CAA officials tried to pass the buck on the government and insisted that if the government wanted, it could release the report without waiting for comments from international aviation companies.
Legal experts, however, point out that it was odd that the CAA was claiming the report was ‘complete’ when, in fact, comments and possible objections from the leading aviation companies have not been included. They said that without the view of international experts from these leading companies, the report can be termed ‘interim’ and not complete.
Aviation law expert Shah Murad says the CAA itself can make the report public on its own, according to Rule 281 of the Civil Aviation Rules 1994, after consulting with the government.
Also, according to International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) of which the CAA is a signatory, the Annex 13 clause clearly states that the state conducting the investigation should release the final report in the shortest possible time and, if possible, within twelve months of the incident.
If the report cannot be released within twelve months, the state conducting the investigation should release an interim report on each anniversary of the occurrence.
However, Murad points out that the CAA statement fails to mention anything about the progress of the investigation into the Airblue plane crash.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2011.