Thursday, April 11, 2013

Casablanca Airport - Lack of Action on Runway Confusion

According to the Moroccan Association of Airline Pilots runway confusion at Casablanca airport puts aircraft and passengers at risk. In its edition of Tuesday, April 9, Soir Echos reports that the Mohamed V  airport at Casablanca is at risk of aircraft accidents, because of the runway configuration. They claim that the three runways can lead to confusion among pilots wishing to land at the airport.

Of the three runways, one is designated as a taxiway for aircraft after landing or before take off. The other two runways, 17L/35R and 17R/35L are, according to the news report, easily confused by pilots. A pilot can attempt to land on one of the tracks while at the same time another plane can be preparing for takeoff. Fortunately no accident has occurred. But if one were to eventuate it could have catastrophic consequences.

The international airport in Casa

According to some sources there have been a number of "near misses" in recent years. The worst part of this story is that the risk of crashes is known by the Moroccan authorities. In 2011, the office responsible for the investigation and analysis of accidents in civil aviation, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), under the Ministry of Equipment and Transport, sounded the alarm. A report spoke of the danger of confusion and provided ​​a list of incidents. The worst case was in 2011 when an Air France Airbus A320 arriving from Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, landed on runway 35R instead of 35L. The incident was blamed on pilot error as no employees of the control tower told the pilot to land on this particular runway. Fortunately, the worst was avoided because no plane was about to take off.

In addition to this incident, four others were identified by the DGAC. They involved several other airlines, including RAM in 2003 and 2010,  Jetairfly in 2009 and  Turkish Airlines in 2010. At the time of the report the DGCA urged ONDA, the National Airports Authority, to conduct a thorough safety audit to better understand how such confusion comes about ​​and solve the problem as soon as possible.

To date, the DGAC has not received any response from the ONDA says M'Barek El Fakir, head of investigations at DGCA. In turn, for ONDA, this is a "case closed." The Board considered actions such as educating and informing air traffic controllers and the airlines about confusion at the airport. These measures are not sufficient in the eyes of the Moroccan Association of airline pilots who believe that the risk of an accident is always present and real action needs to be taken.

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Lesly. said...


My name is Lesly and I am from La Trobe University, Melbourne. I would like to know how I can contact Miss. Suzanna Clarke for an interview please? The contact link on the blog doesn't seem to be working. My email is:
I'd love to explain this elaborately so I hope you can get back to me.

Thank you!


Abd Rahman said...

mmmmmm Ryan Air have returned to Fes giving a much needed boast to the local economy (food in mouths) and you run a story saying how dangerous it is to fly into Casa airport and by implication that maybe other Moroccan airports are unsafe. Of course, the concerns of the Moroccan association of Airline Pilots need to be addressed but please don’t scare prospective tourist from visiting Morocco.

Sandy McCutcheon said...

Hi Lesly - I have sent this to Suzanna