Alas Nacionales

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alas Nacionales, S.A.
IATA ICAO Callsign
(none) ALW ALASNACIONAL
Founded 1995
Ceased operations 1996
Hubs Gregorio Luperón International Airport
Fleet size 2
Headquarters Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

Alas Nacionales ("National Wings" in Spanish) was a Puerto Plata-based carrier that operated charterflights between Dominican Republic and Germany. The airline served as a representative of Birgenair.[1][2]

History[edit]

In summer 1994 the German tour operator Öger Tours and the small German airline Ratioflug entered into a cooperation to offer low-cost charter flights from Germany to the Dominican Republic in winter 94/95. The German Federal Ministry of Transport granted traffic rights to Ratioflug for period of six months. Because Ratioflug did not have any airplane with corresponding capacity and range it leased a Boeing 757 from the Turkish airline Birgenair for these flights.[3]

In order to continue the charter flights in the next winter season, Öger Tours and Birgenair went into a cooperation with Alas Nacionales in summer 1995. This Dominican airline was founded in Puerto Plata by the Finn Matti Puhakka and six other shareholders earlier that year. The company owned an Air Operator Certificate, but no aircraft at that time. It was agreed that Birgenair organize and operate the flights of Alas Nacionales. In return Matti Puhakka and his business partners were offered a remuneration of 10 DM per registered passenger. After Alas Nacionales received traffic rights to Germany the airline officially leased a Boeing 767-200ER from Birgenair. On 25 October 1995 the Turkish aircraft was registered in the Dominican Republic as HI-660CA. A week later the flights to Germany began. They were carried out by Turkish crews.[3]

Due to a defective hydraulic pump the Boeing 767 was not available for flight ALW301 from Puerto Plata to Frankfurt via Berlin on 6 February 1996 so that this flight was carried out exceptionally with a Birgenair Boeing 757-200 (TC-GEN). Due to the shorter range of this type a refuel stop in Gander (Canada) was planed. The aircraft crashed shortly after takeoff from Puerto Plata Airport (see below).

Birgenair had leased this Boeing 757 in November 1995 to the Argentine airline Servicios de Transportes Aéreos Fueguinos (STAF) and operated it on five flights between the Dominican Republic and Buenos Aires (Argentina) until January 1996. Afterwards the aircraft was not transferred back to Turkey, but remained in Puerto Plata.[3]

Both airlines suspended their operations after crash. Alas Nacionales was dissolved in 1996.

Fleet[edit]

Accidents and incidents[edit]

TC-GEN, the aircraft used for Birgenair Flight 301
  • On February 6, 1996, Alas Nacionales Flight 301 (ALW301 operated by Birgenair)[1]) was bound for Frankfurt, Germany but crashed shortly after take-off from Puerto Plata Airport in the Dominican Republic into Atlantic Ocean 26 kilometres off-shore. All 176 passengers and 13 crew members, among them 154 Germans and 9 Polish people, were killed. It was found that one of the air speed indicators of the Boeing 757-225 was not working properly, confusing the pilots about whether the plane's speed was too fast or too slow. Massive negative publicity about Birgenair and other discount flight organizers in Germany following the disaster caused a sharp decline in reservations, and finally the company went into bankruptcy and closed later that same year, 1996 (Those two airlines).[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pope, Hugh and Phil Davison. "Crash plane may not have been serviced." The Independent. Saturday 10 February 1996. Retrieved on 26 June 2010.
  2. ^ Karacs, Imre and Phil Davison. "Bonn grounds 757 as crash mystery grows." The Independent. Friday 9 February 1996. Retrieved on 26 June 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Die Zeit, Online Archiv, 16 February 1996, p. 5 (in German). Retrieved 17 August 2017
  4. ^ Klee, Ulrich (1996). JP airline-fleets International (96/97 ed.). Switzerland: Bucher & Co. Publikationen. ISBN 3857581301. 
  5. ^ Unknown (February 6, 2008). "AWL 301 to FRA (Crashed)". Periodico El Caribe. Archived from the original on January 13, 2008. Retrieved February 6, 2008.