Heathrow Airport closes both runways after Oslo bound Airbus A319 engine catches fire due to possible bird strike

Julian Bray Aviation expert writes: Despite what The Daily Mail says the British Airways Airbus A319  G-EUDE  didn't crash land and it wasn't a Boeing either! The BA Airbus A319 bound for Oslo  made a fully controlled emergency landing, no extensive foam carpet was laid and the emergency landing and evacuation drill carried out by the book.

The undercarriage was fully operable and the pilot seems to have had full navigation control, and at all times in radio communication with NATS air traffic controllers. The arcraft has since been towed from the northern runway by an airport tug to a a secure hanger area for a full air accident investigation. Widespread disruption to Heathrow flights has been caused and will take a full 24 hours (over a bank holiday peak period) to put right.

The incident initially  thought to be a bird strike but BA simply cite a "technical malfunction' ie mechanical/ computer malfunction - but the results of the formal investigation will need to be considered  and the back box flight recorder decoded, before the cause can be confirmed.

Commentators are also suggesting the other engine was also showing signs of damage as the P&W engines would normally be able to cope with strikes by smaller bird varieties so perhaps the technical malfunction is still an area for investigation. Did the service technician properly bolt down the two engine cowlings or did they overtighten and the retaining bolts/ catches possibly sheared? Speculation of course, but the most obvious answers are not always correct.

All 75 passengers were taken off the  BA Flight 762 to Oslo via the emergency chutes. The cowling off one engine seems to have lifted,, a smoked trail was seen, then flames burst though in flight shortly after take off, according to in flight passenger pictures posted on Twitter and images broadcast on television news channels This particular Airbus 319  has a seven year service history and one of the first to feature computer driven  'fly by wire' navigation and control systems.

The aircraft can fly by wire, both slowly and in a nose up stall position, whereas earlier aircraft types trying this would have simply dropped out of the sky.  Video footage on Sky News shows the Airbus 319 with smoke billowing out of one engine port. Heathrow Airport, Europe's busiest, closed both runways to deal with the incident, but one has since re-opened.

BA Airbus A319 are generally  powered by two IAE V2500 engines manufactured by the International Aero Engines, part-owned by Pratt & Whitney parent UTC..

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist NUJ EQUITY UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn link on application)



-Latest PSA industry figures point to 1.72m Brits taking an ocean cruise in 2012

-Over 2% growth outlook predicted in 2013 to 1.76m UK cruises

-Over $12 billion of long term new cruise ship investment planned for 2013-15

 Latest UK cruise industry figures released by the Passenger Shipping  Association (PSA) estimate that 1.72m Brits will take an ocean cruise this  year, 20,000 passengers more than the 1.7m carried in 2011.

This has been achieved despite a challenging year for the industry following the January Concordia incident, and a protracted subdued UK economic climate for consumers that has seen market falls in many other sectors of the holiday industry.

Some eight out of ten UK cruise sales come through Britain’s travel agents, spearheaded by those  specially trained to advise on cruise options through the Association of Cruise Experts (ACE). 

As a sign of continued confidence, nearly $5 billion has been invested globally by the industry in six major new cruise ships launched this year, and a further $3.2billion will be spent on six more ships  scheduled to enter service next year *. 

Long term orders stretch out at an even higher level to 2015, 
representing more than $12bn of investment in new ships over the next three years alone.

For 2013, the PSA is predicting a growth of more than 2% in UK cruises to 1.76m passengers, on the back of continued investment in new and refurbished cruise ships, a fiercely competitive market, and  the continued popularity of ex-UK port cruises.

“There is no doubt that the cruise industry faced a unique set of challenges this year;” said PSA director William Gibbons, “ but our UK figures show that the cruise sector has outperformed the rest of the holiday sector. The sheer diversity of cruises offered by our 41 members, coupled with unrivalled value  for money has helped to attract the ‘new to cruise customer’, key to boosting growth within our sector. 

The undiminished investment in new ships and product innovation is also encouraging with six new cruise ships commissioned in 2012, and six more are scheduled for launch in each of the next three 
years. There is no doubt that value will still be an absolute priority for UK holiday makers in 2013 and a cruise is one of the best ways to have a unique experience whatever your holiday budget.”

* 2012 New ship launches
Company Name  TonNAGE   Passengers  Cost $m
1 Aida Cruises AidaMar 71,000   2,174   562
2 Carnival Cruise Line Carnival Breeze 130,000 3,690 738
3 Costa Cruises Costa Fascinosa 114,200 3,012 725
4 Disney Cruise Line Disney Fantasy 122,000 2,500 850
5 MSC MSC Divina 140,000 3,502 795
6 Oceania Cruises Riviera 65,000 1,260 500
7 Celebrity Cruises Celebrity Reflection 122,000 2,850 798
2013 New ship launches
Company Name Ton Passengers Cost
$m1 MSC MSC Preziosa 139,400 3,478 800
2 Aida Cruises Aid Stella 71,300 2,192 421
3 Compagnie du Ponant Le Soleal 10,700 264 137
4 Hapag Lloyd Europa 2 39,500 516 300
5 Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Breakaway 143,500 4,000 834
6 Princess Cruises Royal Princess 139,000 3,600 754

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist NUJ EQUITY UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn link on application)


+++ Latest: The death toll rises. At least six people have died and four are still missing after a container ship crashed into a control tower in the Italian port of Genoa, officials say +++

Port of Genoa, Italy showing rammed Control Tower

Julian Bray Travel & Shipping Commentator  [01733 345581] reports: Three people have died and several others  (6) were missing, thought to be under water inside the huge Genoa, Italian cargo container port, after a Messina Line container ship 'Jolly Nero' crashed into and toppled a Port control tower during the night. 
The Port of Genoa, is so huge that cruise ships using the port, have to bus their passengers from the berth to the exit gates of the port of Genoa.
Part of the collapsed tower incorporates a lift in which three people were trapped and died.  Some 12 people were present at the time of the accident when the tower ruptured and fell into the water.
The exposed 'state-of-the art' Port of Genoa Control Tower before the collision.

An employee of the Messina Line  based in Genoa, owners  of the vessel confirmed that “there was an accident when the ship was leaving the port. It ran into the tower, but we don't know why at this point, nor how many people are hurt.” 
Emergency services at the scene in Genoa said it was not clear whether some of those still missing were trapped within the lift inside the tower. A Port Pilot was in control of the ship during the exit process, but could only look on helplessly, as several sources are now claiming that two main engines, cut out at the same time, indicating generator failure, leaving the ship 'rudderless' whilst still moving, and unable to use its bow and side thrusters to fine trim speed and direction.  The ships maritime version of the black box data recorder, will be recovered later today and examined aat a laboratory to find out exactly what did happen and replay orders given by the duty captain and port pilot, replicate the timeline and electronic sequence of all data instructions given.
Rescuers were using rescue dogs trained to find people in earthquake zones to see if survivors were trapped under the rubble around the tower.
The container ship, the Italian Jolly Nero, is almost 200 metres long, 30 metres wide, and has a gross tonnage of over 40,500. It was on a regular scheduled voyage to Messina in Sicily.
Shipping company boss, Stefano Messina, who arrived at the port soon after the crash,  told journalists: “We are all utterly shocked. Nothing like this has ever happened before, we are desperate.”
Local agencies are reporting: The Italian Maritime Authority and Prosecutors in the north west Italian city opened an investigation while the Jolly Nero has been sequestered by police, and the captain detained for questioning.
“I heard a terrible din and rushed out of my cabin,” Roberto, the port's night watch, told La Repubblica newspaper. “It was an incredible sight: the control tower was leaning perilously.”
The impact happened during a shift change at the tower which meant that more people were present. The vast metal structure bent 45 degrees and a part of it toppled into the sea.
“Based on the few details which have emerged so far, it was an incomprehensible manoeuvre which could only be explained by a mechanical failure,” said Il Secolo XIX newspaper, based in Genoa.
The captain has been reported as saying: “Two engines seem to have failed and we lost control of the ship.”

JULIAN BRAY, Media, Aviation, & Travel Expert. Broadcaster & Journalist NUJ EQUITY UK Tel: 01733 345581 (isdn link on application)


European Commission - PRESS RELEASES - Press release - Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-18-6423_en.htm European Commission - Fact Sheet Protocol on Ireland and Northern Irel...