Request from the Minister
In the Portuguese accident investigation at the time, it was already concluded that upon departure from Amsterdam, the aircraft had been airworthy. According to the Portuguese investigation into the accident, upon landing, the impact on the landing gear was so considerable that the landing gear failed when the design limits were exceeded. Following the broadcasting of the TV news programme EenVandaag on 16 January 2016, doubts arose about the maintenance of the landing gear. It was alleged that due to the wrongfully granting of permission to postpone the compulsory exchange of the landing gear, the aircraft was not airworthy. The then State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment requested the Safety Board to investigate whether these claims were accurate. At that time, a second-opinion investigation was underway, commissioned by the District Court of The Hague. The Safety Board therefore considered it inopportune to launch its own supplementary investigation. This second-opinion investigation confirmed the Portuguese investigation, also concluding that the aircraft was airworthy. Following the court judgement in 2020, the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management again requested the Safety Board to investigate whether the broadcast by EenVandaag in 2016 had revealed any new facts.
The Safety Board subsequently conducted an investigation into the maintenance of the landing gear of the aircraft involved in the accident. As part of this investigation, the investigators visited the archives in the Netherlands and Portugal, and spoke to persons directly involved. During the investigation, no evidence was found of non-conformities or any exceeding of maintenance periods and inspections. There was also no indication of any necessity to postpone the exchange of the landing gear. The final conclusion once again confirmed that the aircraft satisfied all maintenance requirements and upon departure from Amsterdam was airworthy.
The COVID-19 restrictions during the visits to the archives in the Netherlands and the archive in Portugal delayed the investigation by more than six months. The Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management has been informed of the findings in a letter (Dutch only).