The operators of an airplane that made an emergency landing Monday at Phnom Penh International Airport did not inform civil aviation authorities of the incident afterward, officials said Wednesday.
A turbo-propeller Antonov An-24, belonging to the troubled air carrier PMT Air, returned to Phnom Penh after losing the use of one of its two engines during a flight to Ratanakkiri province. The plane was repaired and flown two hours later to Siem Reap province.
“We will ground this aircraft and our inspector will go to check what is the problem,” said Chea Aun, director-general of the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation.
Authorities only learned of the incident Wednesday, he said, and the plane should not have been flown again before they were notified. “If they fly like this, it is against the law,” he said.
It was too early to say who or what was to blame for Monday’s incident, but officials were investigating, he said.
PMT was required to notify civil aviation authorities of the incident within 24 hours but did not do so, according to a senior secretariat official who declined to be named.
Another SSCA official who also declined to be named said the plane was currently in Siem Reap province, but that officials had not decided whether to proceed with the inspection there or have the plane flown back to Phnom Penh.
A review of PMT’s maintenance records is being undertaken, he added.
PMT Director Sar Sareth said his company was cooperating with authorities.
“We’re doing the report now,” he said. “People know that…sometimes the planes have technical problems but we managed to come back and land successfully.”
He added that he did not think the plane’s mechanical problems were serious. He was not worried that the plane would be grounded, he added.
“If the government wants to close this company they must be reasonable,” he said. “If not, it will not be acceptable. I have been trying to do business on my own without any help from the government.”
(Additional reporting by Kimsan Chantara)