Monday, January 16, 2017

Spare Engine For TU154M Coming From Cuba

Jolted by a re­cent top manage­ment shake-up and problems with its only jet aircraft, the State-owned Guy­ana Airways has said that it is moving to have its TU-154M aircraft back in ser­vice at the end of the week or early in the next.

A top management spokesman told ‘Stabroek News’ that ar­rangements are being made to lease an en­gine from Cuba to be installed in the Soviet-built aircraft, while negotiations are con­cluded for the Corpora­tion to obtain another engine from the manu­facturers.

The aircraft, just over one year old, has re­cently been the centre of controversy follow­ing two separate inci­dents of engine pro­blems on flights out of the United States.


The first occurred on October 26 last when the crew reportedly noticed that the Num­ber Two engine was malfunctioning. A quick decision was taken to return the air­craft and passengers to the John F. Kennedy Airport where repairs were effected.

Just two months after that incident, another engine failure hit the three-engine airliner after it had left Miami International Airport on Boxing Day.

Reports confirmed both by the corpora­tion and Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of­ficials indicated that it was decided to con­tinue the flight on two engines until the craft reached Piarco Airport in Trinidad and Tobago where the stricken plane touched down and passengers were allowed to disem­bark.

This is the incident that caused regular pas­sengers and local Civil Aviation officials to really focus their atten­tion on the perform­ance of the national airliner.

One passenger told ‘Stabroek News’ that he was extremely con­cerned about the latest incident, bearing in mind that it is not a case where it was the same “Number Two engine giving trouble, but this time it was another one.”

Clearly, he feels, something needs to be done about the aircraft which flies to North America, the Carib­bean, Suriname and Brazil. “Who knows… the next time it could be Numbers Two and Three or Numbers One and Two engines.”

Director of Civil Avia­tion Anthony Mekdeci has acknowledged that his department is in­vestigating the inci­dents.


Asked whether man­agement is concerned about the aircraft’s per­formance, a top spokes­man said only that “we are looking at it.” He would not com­ment on the cost of the replacement “Tarom’’ aircraft which has been operating the schedules while the TU154M re­mains grounded at Timehri.

The October incident embarrassed GAC of­ficials who were forced to switch to the re­placement TU154B al­most at the last mo­ment when the Cor­poration inaugurated its weekly jet service to Brazil. Special permis­sion had to be sought to land the plane and its all-Romanian crew at Boa Vista Interna­tional.

The passengers who were stranded in Tri­nidad as a result of the last incident, were brought home by HS 748 flights the next day.

Informed sources say that engine failure in modern jet aircraft is unusual.


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