Egypt refuses to comment on French report suggesting lack of maintenance caused 2016 EgyptAir crash

Ahram Online , Thursday 4 Apr 2019

An Egyptair plane landed on the runway at Cairo Airport, Egypt July 13, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's aviation ministry has refused to comment on a French report claiming that the 2016 crash of an EgyptAir Paris-Cairo flight that killed 66 people on board was a result of a lack of maintenance.

A report by two experts commissioned by the French justice ministry and reported by Reuters on Tuesday claimed there were recurring defects during the aircraft's five flights before the crash and that pilots did not record the faults.

The report said that Egypt's flagship carrier EgyptAir had not properly assessed the technical condition of the plane and that it should not have taken off from Cairo.

On Wednesday, Egypt's aviation ministry said it would not comment on the findings as the matter is still being investigated by prosecutors.

"The aviation ministry affirms it is keen not to provide any technical information related to the accident as the investigation has been referred to the public prosecution, the ministry said in a statement, adding that only prosecutors can give information about the matter.

The French report claimed that defects found during the flights included errors with the engines powering the plane's pressurisation system and the triggering of the smoke detector in the toilet and of electrical circuit breakers.

"The improper application of the procedures and instructions doesn't allow EgyptAir to properly assess the technical condition of the aircraft at the time of departure from Charles-de-Gaulle," the report said.

"The expertise shows that this aircraft should have been checked during the previous four flights and should not have left Cairo after the recurring defects, but it was not reported by successive crews," the experts report added.

Egyptian investigators had not published their final report on the crash.

In July 2018, Egypt’s public prosecution denied reports that a cockpit fire may have caused the crash as claimed by the French BEA air accident and reiterated that forensic information had shown traces of explosive materials on the victims’ bodies.

It said at the time that it was still conducting investigations in cooperation with the French side. BEA had earlier said it was ready to resume work with Egyptian authorities if they were to resume work on the probe.

Twelve of those killed in the crash in May 2016 were French nationals.

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