Nova Scotia

Airbus accused of negligence in Air Canada lawsuit over Halifax crash landing

Air Canada is claiming a French aircraft manufacturer's negligence contributed to a crash landing at Halifax Stanfield International Airport two years ago.

More than two dozen people injured in 2015 crash landing, which is also the subject of class-action lawsuit

Airport firefighters work at the crash site of Air Canada Flight 624 that crashed in 2015 during heavy snow at Stanfield International Airport in Halifax. The flight had 133 passengers and five crew members. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

Airbus's negligence contributed to a crash landing at Halifax Stanfield International Airport two years ago, Air Canada
claims in a lawsuit against the French aircraft manufacturer.

In a statement of claim filed in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Air Canada said Airbus SAS failed to identify shortcomings of the Airbus 320.

The document said it did not advise that in certain conditions, the plane's flight path angle could be affected by external forces.

It also claims Airbus failed to incorporate a warning system to alert pilots to a deviation from the planned flight path angle.

"(Airbus) failed to provide adequate and/or accurate information as to how pilots should correct a deviation in the flight path in circumstances where manual intervention was required," the March 28 claim said. 

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Amount of damages not specified

The statement of claim does not specify an amount for damages, but says: "(Air Canada) pleads that (Airbus) was negligent and that its negligence caused or contributed to the damages claimed in the within action."

"Damages claimed herein include the damage sustained by the aircraft and other expenses related to the subject incident," it said.

 Airbus did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday and has not filed a statement of defence. Air Canada declined to comment, as the matter is now before the courts.

Two dozen injured

Flight 624 hit the ground about 200 metres short of the runway shortly after midnight on March 29, 2015, as it approached in gusty winds and heavy snowfall.

The twin-engine plane bounced into the air and crashed near the runway threshold before careening along the tarmac for another 570 metres.

An engine and the plane's landing gear were torn from the airframe amid a shower of sparks and leaking fuel, but there was no fire and the fuselage remained largely intact.

More than two dozen people were injured in the crash landing, which is also the subject of a class-action lawsuit. The defendants in that lawsuit include Air Canada, Airbus SAS, the Halifax International Airport Authority, Nav Canada and Transport Canada.

Short of the runway

Air Canada's lawsuit against Airbus says the flight crew correctly configured the aircraft for landing, including entering
the correct flight path angle into the flight computer.

"Since the aircraft was correctly configured for approach and landing and the approach was stable, the aircraft should have intercepted the threshold to runway 05 at an altitude of 50 feet," the claim said.

"Instead, the aircraft descended at a steeper angle than expected and touched down short of the runway."