The Government of Hong Kong on Monday established an independent Air Accident Investigation Authority (AAIA), bringing the special administrative region (SAR) into compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13, Air Accident and Incident Investigation. Historically, accident and investigation in Hong Kong SAR has been handled by the Accident Investigation Division of the Civil Aviation Department. The new AAIA falls under the Hong Kong Transport and Housing Bureau (THB).
The AAIA was formally established with the appointment of Darren Straker as chief inspector of accidents. Straker, who formerly was chief air accident investigator of the Air Accident Investigation Sector of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA), will head the AAIA. He takes over the accident investigation duties and statutory powers previously held by Hong Kong’s director general of civil aviation.
Straker, a former commercial pilot who later worked at Airbus, joined the UAE’s GCAA in 2010 and was the UAE’s chief air accident investigator from 2012 until 2017. In 2011, he was responsible for setting up the GCAA’s new Air Accident Investigation Sector.
Annex 13 requires an investigative authority to be independent from the state aviation authorities and other entities that could impact the conduct or objectivity of an investigation.