Friday, January 03, 2014

March deadline for Flight 331 report

"We are being absolutely careful to present a credible report. Jamaica could lose its credibility if this is not done."

This was the assurance given to the Jamaican public by the then director general of the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) Lt Col Oscar Derby, as the public anxiously awaited a report into what caused American Airlines Flight 331 to overshoot the runway at the Norman Manley International Airport on December 22, 2009, coming to a stop in three pieces on the Palisadoes shoreline.

Derby and the JCAA had promised at the time of the accident that a final report would have been completed by March 2010.

Yet, four years later, the public still has not been definitively told the reason for the accident.

Derby has since resigned, and in August last year, took office as director of the CuraƧao Civil Aviation Authority.

The JCAA has now indicated that "the editing and formatting of the highly technical and lengthy final report is nearing completion and the document will be sent for final review by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) by the end of the second week in January, 2014".


The authority said it remained hopeful that a final report could be released within the coming year.

"Barring unforeseen challenges, it is anticipated that the final report will be released to all stakeholders and the public by the end of March, 2014," the JCAA said in a statement to The Gleaner.

In its statement, the JCAA stressed that the completion of the investigation was not only dependent on the work of its staff.

"It is important to note that the current investigation has been impacted by intense, but beneficial, involvement from a foreign jurisdiction and external agencies, each with varying protocols, processes and interests," the authority said.

"While Jamaica exercises responsibility for overseeing and leading the investigation, the aircraft was designed, built, operated and crewed by United States interests. This has necessitated continuous, but highly beneficial and useful collaboration, at all stages of the investigation process, with the NTSB, the independent US-accredited government agency responsible for civil transportation accident investigations."

In December 2011, the NTSB issued its "safety recommendations" with regards to the accident.

That report detailed that the air traffic controllers at the airport had advised the AA331 flight crew that it might be necessary for the aircraft to "circle to land on runway 30 due to an indicated (tail)wind from 320 degrees at 10 knots".

This advice was however not followed.

NTSB Identification: DCA10RA017
Accident occurred Tuesday, December 22, 2009 in Kingston, Jamaica
Aircraft: BOEING 737, registration: N977AN
Injuries: 15 Minor,139 Uninjured.

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. The foreign authority was the source of this information.

On December 22, 2009, about 2222 eastern standard time, a Boeing 737-823, N977AN, registered to Wells Fargo Bank Northwest N.A. Trustee, and operated by American Airlines as flight 331 a Title 14 CFR Part 121 international passenger flight from Miami, Florida, to Kingston, Jamaica, overran runway 12 while landing at the Norman Manley International Airport. Instrument meteorological conditions prevailed in the area, with reportedly heavy rain at the time, and an instrument flight rules flight plan was filed. There were 154 persons onboard, including the pilot, co-pilot, four flight attendants and 148 passengers. Numerous injuries were reported. The flight originated at Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida, about 2022.

This accident investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Government of Jamaica. Any further information pertaining to this accident may be obtained from:

Jamaican Civil Aviation Authority
4 Winchester Road
Kingston 10
Jamaica W.I
Telephone: (876)960-3948
Facsimile: (876)960-1637

This report is for informational purposes only, and contains only information obtained for or released by the Government of Jamaica.