News release

Fuel system deficiency caused a belt loader fire in November 2013 at Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport

Gatineau, Quebec, 03 February 2015 – The Transportation Safety Board of Canada today released its investigation report (A13Q0186) into the belt loader fire involving a Boeing 767 operated by Royal Air Maroc at Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (Québec) in November 2013. The fire led to smoke in the cabin and the evacuation of passengers.

On 04 November 2013, the Royal Air Maroc Boeing 767 carrying 243 passengers and 8 crew members parked at gate 61 after landing at Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (Quebec). During deplaning at 1645, a fire broke out under a belt loader that was positioned under the left rear cargo door. The smell of smoke created by the fire penetrated the cabin, prompting the captain to order the evacuation of the aircraft. Some passengers evacuated the aircraft through the jetway while others used the evacuation slides. Seven passengers suffered minor injuries. The airport firefighting service arrived on site at 1649 and brought the fire under control. The aircraft sustained no damage.

The investigation found that a connector in the fuel system on the belt loader disconnected while the engine was running. Consequently, fuel sprayed onto the hot surface of the exhaust and caused a fire.

In the weeks following the occurrence, all of the service provider's (Servisair Inc.) belt loaders at airports across Canada had their fuel systems inspected for connectors, and they installed an emergency switch on belt loaders that did not already have one. They also shared their observations with other service providers concerning the risks associated with the vulnerability of the fuel system for this engine model on ground handling equipment. Aéroports de Montréal has incorporated service providers such as ground handlers into their safety management system, and its firefighting service now offers training to employees working on the apron.

The TSB is an independent agency that investigates marine, pipeline, railway and aviation transportation occurrences. Its sole aim is the advancement of transportation safety. It is not the function of the Board to assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.

For more information, contact:
Transportation Safety Board of Canada
Media Relations
Telephone: 819-994-8053