The wreckage of the TransAsia Flight GE235 is lifted from the Keelung River in Taipei, Taiwan, on February 4.
Was TransAsia Flight GE235 safe?
03:14 - Source: CNN

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Taiwanese Civil Aerospace Authority (CAA) has ordered all Taiwanese-registered ATR 72's grounded until safety checks can be made

Wednesday's fatal accident the second fatal TransAsia incident involving an ATR 72 in less than a year

Despite several fatal accidents over its time in service, the "workhorse" has good reputation among pilots

CNN  — 

Following Wednesday’s tragic crash in Taipei, its Civil Aerospace Authority (CAA) has grounded all Taiwanese-registered ATR 72’s for safety checks to assess whether they meet the agency’s standards.

The checks affect aircraft in the fleets of TransAsia, the airline at the heart of Wednesday’s fatal incident, and Uni Air, another local carrier.

TransAsia operates six ATR 72-500s and four ATR 72-600s including the ATR 72-600 which crashed Wednesday. Uri Air has 12 ATR 72-600s.

Fred Wu, President of TransAsia Airways, told journalists that the airline was complying with the temporary halt of the company’s ATR 72 fleet.

“The airline, as requested from the CAA, is specifically checking all ATR aircraft in the fleet. They have not finished checking one until this morning,” he said. “Once we have one finished, CAA will confirm the results before we start flying that aircraft again.”

The CAA has also prohibited TransAsia from applying for new traffic rights for a year, according to Taiwan state news agency CNA.

Engine flameout

The plane, which reportedly flew three times on Wednesday, appears to have suffered a “flameout” – an engine failure – shortly after takeoff.

“It appears that it could have had a single-engine flameout, it could have had a dual-engine flameout,” former ATR pilot Stephen Frederick told CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”

“Those are things we’re going to learn.”

It is the second fatal TransAsia incident involving an ATR 72 in less than a year – although the plane that crashed in July while attempting to land on Penghu Island, was a ATR 72-500 – an older model.

Checkered history

In its 20-year history, the airline has lost five aircraft, and encountered seven “significant safety incidents,” Greg Waldon, Asia Managing Editor of Flightglobal, an industry publication, wrote in an analysis piece.