Key Points:

  • The investigation on the 2020 Pegasus Airlines crash at Istanbul's Sabiha Gökçen Airport, which resulted in 3 fatalities, has found the pilots and the airport authority at fault.

  • The report, spanning 140 pages, highlighted the absence of a runway end safety area (RESA) as a significant deficiency, contributing to the severity of the accident.

  • While the pilots were found to be "secondarily at fault", the airport authority and the General Directorate of Civil Aviation were deemed "primarily at fault" for the incident.

Investigation Results of Pegasus Airlines Crash

ISTANBUL — The Prosecutor's Office continues its investigation into the Pegasus Airlines crash at Istanbul Sabiha Gökçen Airport in 2020, which led to the loss of three lives. A new 140-page expert report, prepared by a nine-member panel, has been added to the case file. This report finds both pilots of the flight, which carried 177 passengers and 6 crew members, to be "secondarily at fault" for the accident.

Faulty Conditions and Lack of Proper Safety Measures

The report emphasizes the lack of a runway end safety area (RESA) as a critical missing element that could have prevented the accident or reduced its severity. Despite prior inspections by the General Directorate of Civil Aviation identifying the need for RESA and emergency access roads, necessary corrections were not made, contributing to the crash's severity. The absence of these safety features was highlighted as a significant oversight by the Airport Management and Aviation Industries Inc. (HEAŞ).

Pilot Errors and Missed Opportunities

The report outlines the pilots' errors during the landing approach. Despite unstable approach conditions, the pilots proceeded with landing. The report notes that co-pilot Ferdinand Pondaag did not adequately challenge captain pilot Mahmut Aslan's decisions or call for a go-around, leading to a flawed landing process. It also cites late manual braking and incorrect closure of speed brakes by Aslan, with Pondaag failing to intervene or alert about these issues.

Institutional Responsibilities and Technical Findings

Further, the report indicates that the General Directorate of Civil Aviation bears significant responsibility for the accident. Five out of six experts deemed the Directorate "primarily at fault" for not addressing previously identified safety deficiencies. The report also absolves air traffic controllers, the aircraft manufacturer, and technical maintenance teams of any fault contributing to the crash, confirming the aircraft's airworthiness through post-accident examinations.

Conclusions and Accountability

In concluding, the report places primary responsibility on the HEAŞ airport authority for the incident and its impact, as well as significant blame on the General Directorate of Civil Aviation for failing to enforce safety measures. While the pilots were found to be at fault, Pegasus Airlines itself was cleared of any responsibility. The report suggests further evaluation by the prosecutor's office or the court to determine the nature of the attributed faults.