| 4.6°C Dublin

Airline in fatal Cork crash axes city service

THE airline at the centre of the Cork Airport disaster in which six people died has now axed the service.

Manx2.com last night confirmed that it was withdrawing from the Belfast-Cork route -- only launched last year.

The airline said the decision followed an operational review of the service after the February 10 crash. The tragedy is the subject of a major Air Accident Investigation Unit probe.

The 19-year-old Fairchild Metroliner turboprop which was en route from Belfast to Cork crashed as it attempted its third landing in dense fog at 9.52am on February 10.

It is believed the aircraft's right wing clipped the concrete runway -- flipping the aircraft over onto its back.

It then skidded for almost 200 metres along the runway before bursting into flames.

One person seated at the front of the aircraft survived. Both the pilot, Jordi Sola Lopez (31), and the co-pilot, Andrew Cantle (27), died in the impact.

Visibility at the time was down to 300 metres -- and aviation experts admitted it was unusual that the pilot did not divert to another airport after his second aborted landing attempt. In a statement last night, Manx2.com said it remained committed to services from Belfast to Blackpool, the Isle of Man and Angelsey.

"In order to minimise the impact to passenger travel plans, the (Belfast-Cork) service will be maintained for the next two weeks until Sunday, March 13," a spokesman said.

"All passengers booked to travel on the Belfast-Cork service on or after March 14 will be given a full refund."

Manx2.com is a so-called 'cyber airline' that leases in aircraft and crew from other firms.


Last week, a legal firm representing one survivor of the accident, Mark Dickens (40), claimed that Manx2.com was attempting to shift legal responsibility for the accident.

Stewarts Law, the London-based legal firm acting for Mr Dickens, claimed it received correspondence from Manx2.com attempting to place responsibility on the aircraft's owners and insurers.

In reply, Manx2.com said it had chartered the aircraft involved from a fully insured carrier -- the Spanish-based firm, Flightline BCN.

Irish Independent