5 Sep 2008

British Airways crash probably caused by ice in fuel

12:56 pm on 5 September 2008

A British Airways plane crash at London's Heathrow airport in January was likely to have been caused by ice in the jet's fuel system, a report into the incident said on Thursday.

The accident, which seriously injured one passenger when the plane landed 305 metres short of its intended runway, was not the fault of the flight crew, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch said in an interim report into the incident.

It also ruled out problems with the amount or quality of the fuel, focusing instead on the build-up of ice in the system.

The Boeing Co 777-200 ER aircraft, which used engines from Rolls Royce, had flown into London's Heathrow airport from Beijing.

"There are no safety recommendations specific to British Airways. We will work closely with the relevant regulatory authorities and comply with any requirements issued to all operators (of the aircraft)," the British carrier said in a statement.

However, Boeing recommended all 11 airlines globally that fly 777s with Roll Royce engines, including American Airlines, a unit of AMR Corp, and Delta Air Lines Inc, to take steps designed to minimize chances of ice buildup.

More than 220 planes are included in the Boeing advisory.

The primary recommendation is for pilots to increase engine thrust periodically when fuel temperatures drop below a certain level to force out any accumulated ice.