Taiwan's central aviation regulator has suspended ten TransAsia pilots after they failed an oral proficiency test related to how they should handle an aircraft in the event of an engine failure. The test was ordered after TransAsia flight GE235 crashed in a Taipei river, killing 42 of the 58 people on board.
According to a preliminary investigation, it appears that the plane lost power in one of its two engines just minutes after taking off from Songshan Airport in Taipei. Authorities have suggested that the pilots switched off the working engine in response to the failure of the other engine. A recording of communications between the ill-fated plane and air traffic control, available on Live ATC's website, shows that the last message sent by the pilots was: "Mayday Mayday engine flameout".
Taiwan's civil aviation agency prompted the test after it first became apparent that the pilots may not have followed procedures that are meant to be followed if an engine fails following take-off. Ten pilots have already failed the test, and 19 more TransAsia pilots are grounded until they pass flight simulator training.
The President of the airline, Fred Woo, accepted that the results of the test were "unacceptable". He vowed to undertake large-scale management overhauls and training schemes to improve flight safety standards.
Meanwhile, the airline also offered a payout of 14.9 million new Taiwan dollars (approximately US$ 480,000) to the families of each victim of the crash. According to the airline, this includes 13.5 million new Taiwan dollars of compensation, 1.2 million new Taiwan dollars to cover funeral costs as well as 200,000 new Taiwan dollars in a consolation fund.
Families of the victims, however, immediately rejected the compensation offer, which was made in a closed-door meeting with airline representatives. TransAsia's Liu Chung-chi said the families did not put forward an acceptable figure. TransAsia paid 14.9 million new Taiwan dollars as compensation to heirs of victims of another crash last year. Both last week's crash and the one in July involved the ATR 72 aircraft, which are manufactured by Franco-Italian.