ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Civil Aviation Authority is investigating back-to-back technical failures recorded by the domestic carrier Sakurai Aviation Limited whose services have since been suspended, officials said.
A Sakurai-owned light aircraft made two emergency landings in one week owing to technical failures.
Sakurai Enterprises Company Limited in Japan is the parent company of the domestic carrier.
“We were informed on Monday first about an engine failure because the aircraft was in close proximity to the Katunayake airport and the chances of a crash on our runway were high. The pilot had to do an emergency landing in a paddy field nearby,” Shehan Sumanasekara, Director-Operations (all airports) of Sri Lanka Airport and Aviation Services told EconomyNext.
“Last week’s incident was a partial engine failure and yesterday’s incident was a complete engine failure. It was an unfortunate incident, but it’s definitely something to worry about when the same aircraft company reports back to back tech failures.”
Only an investigation will reveal what happened and allow authorities to determine if inspections and maintenance work were done on time and properly, Sumanasekara added.
The first incident was reported on December 22 when a training aircraft of the company made an emergency landing on a beach in Payagala, as per a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) statement.
Preliminary investigations revealed to a technical glitch, reports said.
On Monday (27), however, the CESSNA 172 aircraft belonging to Sakurai Aviation carrying four passengers (two pilots and two tourists) made an emergency landing in a paddy field in the Kimbulapitiya area in Katunayake close to the Bandaranayake International Airport (BIA), according to a Civil Aviation statement.
The injured persons are currently hospitalised.
The plane which was travelling from Sigiriya to Ratmalana airport had to land owing to a technical failure, as per reports.
“The Civil Aviation Authority of Sri Lanka will be conducting a special investigation into this incident which took place today at 1.52 pm in the Kimbulapitiya area in Katunayake,” Captain Themiya Abeywickrama, Director General of CAASL said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Sakurai Aviation was not available for comment. (Colombo/Dec28/2021)