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December, 6, 2016

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EVA Air violated local aviation law during Megi: CAA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- A preliminary investigation by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) of the Transportation Ministry found seven EVA Airways (長榮航空) flights and one Uni Air (立榮航空) flight operating in the presence of Typhoon Megi on Sept. 27 violated local aviation law.

Only flight BR105, however, was in violation for flying under dangerous weather conditions. The plane, which took off from Fukuoka, Japan, landed at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport when the crosswind speed hit 32 nautical miles per hour – slightly above the maximum allowed 30.

EVA Air also violated the law for requiring crewmembers to work overtime on flight BR105, along with the seven other flights. They were BR709, BR398, BR715, BR107, BR191 and BR216 from Eva Air, and B7501 from Uni Air.

The company could be fined between NT$600,000 and NT$3 million, which will be determined after further deliberation, the CAA said.

The CAA has investigated 70 flights of the Evergreen Group from between Sept 27-28. In addition to verifying aviation safety standards and crew work hours, the remaining gasoline volume upon landing was also checked. There was no violation on the gas item, the CAA said.

The Evergreen Group received wide-spread public criticism for keeping a dozen planes in the air despite Typhoon Megi's presence. No other airlines were operating at the time. EVA Air Chairman Lin Pao-shui (林寶水) later apologized in the wake of the public complaint.

In the internal letter sent out to employees, Lin promised the company would make a thorough assessment of its operations.

Airbus A330, the plane employed for flight BR105, is designed to withstand crosswind speed up to 40 nautical miles per hour. Still, flying under a wind speed of 32 nautical hours per hour violated local regulations, the CAA said.

In regards to work hours, the airline breached the law by forcing crewmember to work over 14 hours, or not granting a continuous 30-hour break in seven days.

Eva Said It Will Try to

Make Improvements

EVA Air spokesperson Ke Chin-cheng (柯金成) responded yesterday that the company will examine its handling of the situation and will try to improve. The company also indicated that it would explain to the CAA its stance on the overtime issue.

The CAA will make a ruling on EVA Air's mishandling in accordance with the "Aviation Safety Review Procedure" and the "Aviation Safety Investigation and Handling Rules." Eva Air and Uni Air's views on the incident will also be solicited before the final ruling is determined.

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