Release #04.045
October 18, 2004

Air Transat 236 Report Confirms Pilots’ Airmanship Saved Flight

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The following statement was issued by Capt. Duane E. Woerth, President of the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA), regarding a report released today by the Portuguese Office for the Prevention and Investigation of Aircraft Accidents on an incident involving Air Transat Flight 236 on August 24, 2001.

"The competence and professionalism the two pilots exhibited in safely landing the aircraft and protecting the crew and passengers under exceptional circumstances is clearly confirmed in the Portuguese government’s report.

"ALPA commends the Portuguese government’s thorough investigation, which finds that the Air Transat Flight 236 incident resulted from a rare convergence of factors, including aircraft design, training, mechanical and performance issues.

"The investigation left no doubt that flight crews, even in today’s sophisticated aircraft, still require clear, unambiguous indications of technical problems if they are to make the accurate, timely professional judgments expected of them. The Air Transat Flight 236 crew was faced with confusing, and even sometimes contradictory, information. The report clearly points out the need to address the human factors issues that will always surround the design and operation of commercial aircraft if we are to avoid similar situations in the future.

"The good news is that this report serves mostly as a history lesson, because the aircraft manufacturer and the airline have already put changes in place to address the safety issues raised in the investigation of the Air Transat 236 incident.

"We’re pleased to see that the Safety Management System is now the guiding factor in the Air Transat safety culture and that the manufacturer has already begun making improvements to ensure that warnings presented to crews better convey the seriousness of the situation."

The full report is available at

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world’s largest pilot union, representing 64,000 pilots at 43 airlines in the United States and Canada. Visit the ALPA website at

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ALPA Contacts:  

Pete Janhunen, 571-243-5300

Linda Shotwell, 703-481-4440