Bahrain Air has responded to the allegations made by several passengers of flight BN328 who have accused the airline and its staff for endangering their lives by making forceful attempts to land the plane in Bahrain on Saturday evening, despite turbulent weather, which saw several other carriers divert flights to nearby Doha.
Answering queries sent by Emirates 24|7 via email, a representative from the airline replied stating: “Bahrain Air is always obligated to maintain the highest safety industry standards, which was applied in the matter.”
Talking about the circumstances that led to flight taking off in turbulent weather, the rep said: “Flights are normally performed in all weather conditions without compromising safety, which are governed by the standard operating procedures approved by the legislative authorities and which are applicable to all airlines under its jurisdiction.
“In the case of the subject flight, the captain did only what he was trained to do and within those approved operating procedure under the circumstances. He performed the first approach for landing but had to abort it due to severe wind shear, which he encountered during the approach phase.”
The rep said wind shear is best described as a sudden or rapid change in winds directions and velocity, which causes unexpected air turbulence.
“Normally, wind shears don’t last for a long time and accordingly the captain attempted the second approach but it was evident that the wind shear was still persisting over the area. The captain then decided, for the safety and comfort of the passengers, to divert to another airport in the area, which was Doha as did many flights at the same time,” he said.
Passengers have quizzed if the weather was bad, why not simply not take off or divert the plane right from the beginning? Why force a small plane to land repeatedly?
“No flight will be dispatched in or out of Bahrain without making sure that the weather phenomenon are up to the standard required to perform the flight, but sometimes weather changes rapidly…. As said earlier there were two attempts, the first scheduled one and another one that aborted because of the persistence of the wind shear at the time of landing, to guarantee the safety of the passengers and the aircraft,” said the rep.
Bahrain Air has stated that the standard procedure under such circumstances is that the operating crew handles the situation to ensure the safety of the passengers and aircraft.
Once the situation has been stabilised the cockpit crew will normally make public announcement to comfort the passengers of the situation and assure them of all things are under control, “which is exactly what the operating crew did for the passengers. Bahrain Air is always obligated to maintain the highest safety industry standards, which was applied during the wind shear situation.”
According to passenger reports, the flight, which took off from Dubai at approximately 9.55pm finally landed around 11.45pm in Doha with a few people having fainted on the flight, while another lady suffering from palpitations.
However, passengers say they were unable to deplane immediately or get medical assistance for anyone as they were forced to stay onboard by the airline and Qatar airport authorities.
Bahrain Air has stated that its crew is “highly trained on performing any medical assistance needed, but they cannot force passengers on accepting their assistance.”
The rep said: “Some of the passengers on that flight denied our crew from providing assistance and they just wanted to be offloaded, which we have no power to do against their wishes....”
It has been learned that several passengers have contacted a lawyer to pursue their complaint with Bahrain Air through legal channels, with Alshoala stating that not only was the pilot, a Bahraini national according to her, rude with her and his attitude was highly unprofessional, but she was also appalled by his behaviour saying that he rough handled her.
The airline rep said: “We will perform a thorough investigation about this allegation... but unfortunately passengers understandably do sometimes lose their patience out of fear and speculation under pressure.”
Responding to the possibility of being sued by passengers, the airline stated: “Bahrain Air operating crew handled the flight professionally by applying the industry standards under the circumstances bearing in mind that safety and comfort was and is the paramount consideration. We hope that our valued passengers and customers can recognise that the procedures the operating crew followed was aimed at conducting a safe flight with least discomfort.”
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