Emirates has been urged to enhance pilot training following an investigation into Flight EK521 which crashed at Dubai International Airport and caught fire in 2016.
A final report by the General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) said the pilots failed to realise the engines of their Boeing 777 remained idle as they tried to take off from a failed landing attempt.
“The flight crew reliance on automation and lack of training in flying go-arounds from close to the runway surface significantly affected the flight crew performance in a critical flight situation which was different to that experienced by them during their simulated training flights,” the report said.
It added that air traffic controllers also failed to warn the pilots that two other flights had previously failed to land due to windshear.
The report also recommended that the details of the crash and the lessons learned into air traffic controller training.
Among a list of recommendations to Emirates, the report said it should “enhance the normal go-around and missed approach training standards”.
The report said that without power from the engines to lift the plane, Flight EK521 was doomed to crash on August 3, 2016.
Emirates said in a statement on Thursday that it has “proactively taken the appropriate steps to further enhance our operating procedures” based on its own internal investigation.
While the 300 passengers and crew onboard the Boeing 777-300 escaped with their lives, a subsequent explosion that engulfed the aircraft killed a firefighter on the ground, the report added.
It noted that during the attempted go-around, except for the last three seconds prior to impact, “both engine thrust levers, and therefore engine thrust, remained at idle. Consequently, the aircraft’s energy state was insufficient to sustain flight.”
The GCAA report said the flight crew “did not effectively scan and monitor the primary flight instrumentation parameters during the landing and the attempted go-around” and “did not take corrective action to increase engine thrust”.
Also contributing to the cause of the crash, the report said air traffic control did not pass “essential information about windshear reported by a preceding landing flight crew”.
Adel Al Redha, Emirates’ chief operating officer, said: “Emirates welcomes the publication of the Final Report, and we would like to thank the UAE AAIS, and all parties who have contributed to the investigation for their work.
“We would like to once again express our sorrow and convey our condolences to the family of the firefighter who lost his life while responding to the accident. We would also like to recognise our teams on the aircraft and on the ground that day, who responded to the emergency in an exemplary fashion and ensured the safe evacuation of everyone on board EK521.
“The aim of aviation safety investigations is to understand all contributing factors and ensure appropriate measures are taken by the relevant parties and agencies to prevent a reoccurrence. Emirates acknowledges the conclusions and recommendations drawn by the AAIS.
“Since the accident, our priorities have been to support the passengers and crew of EK521, to conduct a thorough review of our internal processes, and to support the work of the investigators.
“In addition to actions identified in the Final Report, Emirates has also proactively taken the appropriate steps to further enhance our operating procedures based on our own internal investigation, as well as on a thorough review of the Preliminary Report and Interim Report. These actions were taken in conjunction with our regulator, the UAE GCAA. It is a positive validation of our robust internal process that the majority of our own findings and recommendations are included in the final report.
“Maintaining safe operations is a top priority at Emirates, and we are committed to the continuous review and improvement of our operations.”
Published Final Report UAE521 on 6-Feb-2020>