The Plane That Crashed in Cuba Was Already Under Investigation for Serious Safety Issues
The Boeing 737 was already barred from Guyanese airspace.
On Friday, a Boeing 737 airliner flying under Cubana de Aviación, Cuba's largest national airline, crashed near José Martí International Airport in Havana. The crash left 110 people dead and three more critically injured. The company that owns the aircraft is now facing questions after it was revealed that the plane had already been the recipient of two serious safety complaints.
According to NBC, Mexico's government confirmed its own National Civil Aviation Authority will carry out an operational audit of Damojh airlines, the owner of the aircraft, to see if its "current operating conditions continue meeting regulations." It will further collect information for the investigation into why and how the plane crashed on Friday.
What we do know already is that the exact plane that crashed was already barred from Guyanese airspace after authorities discovered ts crew had allowed dangerous overloading of luggage on flights to Cuba, according to the Associated Press, who spoke with Guyanese Civil Aviation Director Capt. Egbert Field.
However, according to Armando Daniel Lopez, president of Cuba's Institute of Civil Aviation, who also spoke to the Associated Press, Cuban authorities had not received any complaints about the plane in the last 30 days.
NBC further reported that both the plane and the crew were being rented from Damojh, a Mexico-based airline, by EasySky, a Honduras-based low-cost airline. Cubana de Aviación then rented the plane from EasySky in what is known as a "wet lease" — where one company leases the aircraft, complete crew, maintenance, and insurance to another. This means that Damojh would be wholly responsible for the aircraft’s maintenance, not Cubana de Aviación or EasySky.
"It's normal for us to rent planes," Cuban Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez told reporters. "Why? Because it's convenient and because of the problem of the blockade that we have. Sometimes we can't buy the planes that we need, and we need to rent them."
The investigation remains ongoing. Damojh has yet to comment on the crash.