The crew of a Citywing flight that led to the liquidation of the airline had requested weather information from City of Derry Airport before taking off from the Isle of Man for Belfast during Storm Doris last year, a new accident report has revealed.
Early on February 27, 2017, the flight from the Isle of Man to Belfast City was forced to return to Ronaldsway Airport, where, according to witnesses, while landing in crosswinds, one of the plane’s wingtips nearly hit the runway. Three passengers were on board.
“When the aircraft landed at IOM the wind was gusting to 63 knots and creating a maximum crosswind component of 40 knots,” according to the Air Accident Investigations Branch (AAIB).
“After touchdown, nearby witnesses saw the right mainwheel lift off the ground and they estimated the left wingtip rolled to within approximately one metre of the runway surface before the landing was successfully completed,” it says.
That morning the crew had requested Meteorological Airfield Reports (METARs) and Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) from several airports. However, “weather reports for Blackpool and TAFs for BHD or Londonderry were not available at 0632 hrs”, the report says. Despite this, the pilots took off into a “region affected by a deep low-pressure system with associated strong surface winds”.
Following the incident, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) withdrew the Czech-registered operator, Van Air’s, route licence. This was later blamed by Citywing’s directors for its liquidation last March. A Citywing flight from Derry to Dublin was under consideration as recently as two years ago.