— “We don’t mess with safety”- airline official
A Suriname Airways flight, bound for Aruba, Friday morning returned to Paramaribo for a “precautionary” landing, and the carrier assured that many of its 100-odd passengers, who are in-transit, would be looked after.
The airline’s Guyana representative, Rudi Westerborg, told Demerara Waves Online News that the plane returned to Suriname 18 minutes after takeoff as a precautionary measure due to cabin pressure problems. “After the takeoff, there was a warning about the pressure in the cabin and the captain decided to turn back,” he said.
“It was a warning procedure. It was not an emergency at all and that was the best thing and the captain acted according to the rules,” he said. Westborg said at the time of the signal, it could have been possible that a door was not locked properly.
He stressed that there was no panic aboard the plane and not even the oxygen masks dropped automatically.
One of the passengers, who is a usually credible source for Demerara Waves Online News, said the flight, PY 463, departed at about 9 am for Aruba, but 18 minutes later “the pilot announced we had to go back to Suriname due to a door unlocked”.
Westborg said the same plane was fixed by technical personnel and the passengers departed at 12:03 pm Suriname time. The flight was due to arrive in 2:35 pm Aruba time.
While a source said many of the passengers expressed concern about missed connections to Trinidad, Panama and the United States, the Suriname Airlines official said only those in-transit to Panama and Trinidad would be inconvenienced. “They will meet a system in Aruba… We have a process in place according to the rules and within the scope of possibility – how far you can assist your passengers and that’s what we always do,” Westborg said.
The source said the passengers expect the airline to stand some transit expenses as it was not their fault that they missed connections to their final destinations.
The Suriname Airlines official emphasised that his carrier is International Air Transport Association (IATA)-Operational Safety Audit (IOSA)-compliant which means “that you have the highest standards of safety that exist in the world”.
Certification is granted every two years after an audit is conducted, one being due for Suriname Airlines next month. “We don’t mess with safety,” Westborg said.