New-York based air-taxi company ExcelAire, which had kept silent, while the world raged outside with oposing news on the collision of its Legacy executive with a Boeing 737 over the Brazilian Amazon jungle has decided to talk after American lawyers began to file lawsuits against the company.
In a press-release issued this Monday, November 6, the American company starts by saying that it wishes to express its "deepest sympathies to the families that lost loved ones in the tragic accident of September 29, 2006 in Brazil."
ExcelAire through Robert Torricella, a Miami-based aviation attorney representing the firm’s pilots also says that the civil lawsuits filed or to be filed this week arising from the accident, which left 154 people dead, are premature, given that the facts surrounding the accident have not yet been fully investigated and established in a comprehensive accident investigation.
"In the face of recent confirmations that air traffic control cleared and directed the ExcelAire Legacy Jet to fly to Manaus at 37,000 feet, repeated suggestions that ExcelAire’s pilots were flying at the wrong altitude are baseless," said Torricella.
"According to international aviation regulations and norms, air traffic control directives take precedence over a written flight plan and those directives effectively amend the written flight plan. It is the flight plan cleared by air traffic control at the time of departure – and not the prior written flight plan – that governs the conduct of the flight."
He added, "Here, the flight plan cleared by air traffic control at the time of departure required the Legacy to fly all the way to Manaus at 37,000 feet and, absent contrary directives from air traffic control, the Legacy was obligated to follow its cleared flight plan. As the findings of the investigation are made public, we are confident that ExcelAire’s pilots will be exonerated."
ExcelAire, based in Ronkonkoma, NY, specializes in business jets and aircraft management. In the release it pledges its full cooperation in the investigations currently underway in Brazil.
The ExcelAire pilots have been detained in Brazil for more than five weeks. Their passports have been confiscated by the Brazilian authorities.