Safety Of Low Cost Airlines Should Be Investigated, Warns Leading Travel Lawyer Following Asian Plane Crash

Plane crash, Bangkok - Phuket, Thailand

17.09.2007

Eight British nationals are believed to have died in the Phuket plane crash and a further three remain in hospital, one of them in a critical condition.

Clive Garner, one of the UK's leading travel law experts has warned British Holidaymakers to investigate the safety records of so called low cost airlines in South Asia before booking flights with them.

The plane which killed at least 89 people on 16th September 2007 was flying 123 passengers and seven crew from Bangkok to Phuket when it crashed as it tried to land during heavy wind and rain.

The McDonnell Douglas MD-82 aircraft involved in the crash was manufactured in the 1980s and was owned and operated by the budget One-Two-Go Airlines. The Aircraft was on a domestic flight from Bangkok to Phuket.

Mr Garner, Head of the Travel Law team at Irwin Mitchell says today: "I am sure that the Civil Aviation Authority will undertake a full investigation into the cause of this tragedy, but it is vital that lessons are learned. Whilst in the UK and Europe the budget airline model has worked well and their safety record is impressive, there are real concerns about some of the operators in Southern Asia.

"There is no doubt many travellers benefit from the low cost, no frills, airlines operating across Europe and other parts of the World; but until safety standards are improved in Southern Asia, I recommend that anyone intending to travel with budget operators there should investigate their safety record before booking their flight.

"Phuket Air, a low-cost Thai carrier, has only recently had its ban from flying to some European destinations lifted, whilst all Indonesian airlines remain banned from European destinations. This follows a series of crashes which has led to doubts about safety procedures at airports, pilot training and maintenance in Indonesia."

Orient Thai, the International arm of One-Two -Go has itself been criticised in the recent past by the South Korean Authorities for "substandard safety".

An inquiry line has been set up for friends and family of people suspected to have been travelling on the plane to get further information, on 0207 008 0000.