The Malta Independent 20 October 2019, Sunday

Air Malta was one of first to comply with Airbus A320neo safety directive, airline says

Albert Galea Tuesday, 1 October 2019, 09:35 Last update: about 18 days ago

Air Malta was one of the first airlines to comply with a safety directive issued on the Airbus A320neo after issues were found with its centre of gravity envelope, the national carrier told The Malta Independent.

“Air Malta follows every safety directive issued by the various authorities and the manufacturer. Air Malta was, in fact, one of the first operators to comply with this particular safety directive”, the airline said.

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“The steps taken by Air Malta include a temporary revision of the aircraft limitations in the Aircraft Flight Manual”, they said.

The Malta Independent on Sunday reported that the Airbus A320neo – of which Air Malta currently has three – has become the subject of an airworthiness directive issued by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) last July following the finding of an issue with the aircraft’s centre of gravity envelope.

The issue, while described by the EASA as being “potentially unsafe”, has never been encountered during operations, but was deemed serious enough by the EASA to warrant a directive being issued to solve it.

 “Analysis and laboratory testing of the behaviour of the flight control laws of the A320neo identified a reduced efficiency of the angle of attack protection when the aeroplane is set in certain flight configurations and in combination with specific manoeuvres commanded by the flight crew”, the directive read.

“This condition, although never encountered during operations, if not corrected, could lead to excessive pitch attitude, possibly resulting in increased flight crew workload”, it said.

The directive applies to Airbus A320neo aircraft – more specifically the A320-251N, A320-253N, A320-271N and A320-273N models.

“Such directives are standard practice in the aviation industry and are intended to continue to offer a safe means of transport to millions of passengers every year”, the airline said before adding that the “safety for its customers and crew was, is and will remain Air Malta’s top priority.”

Air Malta is one of 51 airlines across the globe which utilises the Airbus A320neo, and has three Airbus A320-251Ns in its fleet – 9H-NEO, 9H-NEB, and 9H-NEC. The first was delivered to the airline in June 2018, the second was delivered in July 2019, and the third was delivered two weeks ago, on 12 September 2019.

The national carrier last year began embarking on a plan which will, by 2022, see its fleet fully replaced by A320neos.

 

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