The Department of Civil Aviation wants to require airports across the country to install aircraft recovery systems, which would include aircraft lifting bags, to improve safety and minimize delays if accidents happen, a senior aviation official said.
U Ye Htut Aung, deputy director general of the department, said the government will allocate money for the equipment this year for state-run airports. The department will also require privately operated airports to install the systems.
“We will buy equipment that can lift an ATR 72 (a twin-engine turboprop aircraft) for 30 domestic airports,’’ U Ye Htut Aung said.
Yangon International Airport has had four aircraft malfunctions or accidents so far this year, the latest of which involved a Myanmar military aircraft last Thursday. The airport requires a long time to clear the runway after the malfunctions or accidents due to a lack of equipment, which delayed inbound and outbound flights.
There are no aircraft recovery systems at any of the country’s international airports.
U Ye Htut Aung said international airports in the country should install aircraft recovery systems that can handle the biggest aircraft that uses their runways.
“We have urged Yangon airport to buy aircraft lifting bags, but airport officials said they have no time,” he said. “In some countries, such equipment is either bought by the airlines or the airport,” he said.
On May 8, a Biman Bangladesh Airlines aircraft carrying 30 passengers and six crew members skidded and overran the runway on landing at the airport in heavy rain and poor visibility. Local media reported that 19 people were injured in the accident.
Days later, a Myanmar National Airlines plane made an emergency landing after its nose wheel failed to extend. There were no injuries in the accident.
On August 5, the runway was again shut down after a Golden Myanmar Airlines Y5-506 ATR-72-600 aircraft experienced technical problems with its nose gear upon landing at the airport.
In a press release last Friday, Yangon Aerodrome Co Ltd, which operates the airport, apologised to customers after a Myanmar military aircraft skidded off the runway on Thursday, causing many flights to be diverted, delayed or cancelled.