The Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) Wednesday insisted that pilots had been urged to “exercise caution” as it sought to distance itself from blame regarding an American Airlines aircraft with more than 100 passengers on board being forced to return to the terminal after it was struck with what is believed to have been a circuit box for runway lights while taxing.
“The appropriate Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was previously issued to advise of these works and for pilots to exercise caution when in the vicinity of the threshold,” the CJIA said in a statement
But American Airlines has disputed the position of the CJIA saying “no previous notice” had been issued to pilots.
The incident, the second to have involved an American Airline plane in as many weeks, is reported to have resulted in three of the aircraft tyres being damaged.
“The cable appears to be part of a temporary runway light solution which was not visible to the crew and no previous notice was issued to pilots,” American Airlines said the statement.
It said that Flight 1512 with 127 passengers bound for Miami left the gate and was taxiing for take-off when the aircraft, an Airbus A319, ran over a cable and damaged some tires.
One unidentified passenger, who was on the plane, told reporters that there was poor visibility because of heavy fog at the time of departure and it appeared as though the pilot might have ventured too far out to the edge of the runway, colliding with the piece of equipment.
American Airlines in its statement said that it was following up with the CJIA Airport Authority “as we investigate this matter” and that the affected flight is now scheduled to leave here on Thursday morning at 2.00 am (local time).
But in providing details of the incident, the CJIA said that the incident which occurred at 12.34 am (local time) occurred when the plane was executing a turn on RWY 06 threshold for take-off.
“During the turn, the aircraft’s nose gear and right main gear tires were deflated after coming into contact with temporary threshold lights. As a result, the aircraft became disabled, and the runway closed,” CJIA said.
The CJIA said that the temporary runway lights had been put in place by the China Harbour Engineering Company to facilitate runway extension works.
It said that the runway was re-opened at least four hours after the incident.
The Guyana Civil Aviation Authority is expected to launch an investigation into the matter.
Last week, week an American Airlines flight was forced to return to Guyana after the aircraft developed a problem with its air conditioning system and cabin pressure.
The pilot spent more than 3 hours circling the airport to burn off enough fuel for landing. The plane eventually landed without any incident.