HONG KONG/SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Taiwan’s aviation regulator on Thursday ordered all operators of ATR planes in the country to conduct “special checks” on their aircraft, a day after a TransAsia Airways plane crashed and killed at least 31 people.
The checks will focus on the engines, fuel control system, propellor systems, and spark plugs and ignition connectors in the turboprop planes, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said.
A grounding of Taiwan’s 22 ATR aircraft was not ordered despite the incident, the second fatal crash involving a TransAsia plane in seven months.
The plane was on its third flight of the day and there were no records of any malfunction in the previous two flights, the CAA statement said.
An air traffic control recording showed that the last communication from one of the aircraft’s pilots was “Mayday Mayday engine flameout”.
A flameout occurs when the fuel supply to the engine is interrupted or when there is faulty combustion, resulting in an engine failure. Twin-engined aircraft, however, are usually able to keep flying even when one engine has failed.
The plane was powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW127 engines. Pratt & Whitney is part of United Technologies.
Macau’s Civil Aviation Authority said the plane’s engines had been replaced at Macau Airport on April 19 last year, during its delivery flight, “due to engine-related technical issues”.
TransAsia has 10 remaining ATR turboprop aircraft, a combination of 72-500s and 72-600s. Its aircraft that completed the checks resumed operations on Thursday, the CAA said.
Uni Air, a subsidiary of EVA Airways Corp, operates 12 ATR 72-600s.
“We are conducting checks, but we have not grounded the aircraft,” an EVA Air spokeswoman said.