18 March 2012

ATR Grounding Update

Air New Zealand passengers are expected to face more travel disruption tomorrow as the airline checks its fleet of ATR aircraft after hairline cracks were discovering on one of the planes. The airline today cancelled the majority of ATR services operated by subsidiary Mount Cook Airlines after hairline cracks were found in the area around windows of the cockpit in one aircraft during routine overnight maintenance in Christchurch. About 60 one-way services were cancelled today, affecting around 3000 customers. Two ATR planes have already been returned to service on the airline's Christchurch-Rotorua and Auckland-Palmerston North routes, Radio New Zealand reported. Mount Cook Airline general manager Sarah Williamson said the airline would operate about two thirds of its normal seat capacity tomorrow with three of its 11 ATR planes in service and additional flights from other aircraft in the Air New Zealand fleet. The airline expected to introduce more aircraft back into service later on Monday, she said. Williamson said inspections continued on the rest of the fleet in conjunction with aircraft manufacturer ATR. Customers whose flights were cancelled today are being contacted where possible and alternative arrangements made for them, including free-of-charge ticket changes, she said. Air NZ said the ATR-500 planes have been used by Mt Cook since 1999 and service 10 destinations around New Zealand.

Meanwhile my Eagle flight out of Hokitika was bang on time and just a few minute delay on the flight back to Auckland

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