18 March 2012

ATR Grounding

Air New Zealand has grounded its regional ATR fleet for inspections after cracks were found around the cockpit windows of one aircraft. The airline said its 11 ATR planes - the propeller driven 68-seaters operating regional services around the country - had all their services cancelled this morning after the cracks were discovered. The planes are operated by Air New Zealand subsidiary Mt Cook Airlines. A media statement said one aircraft in Queenstown had already been inspected, had passed, and was back in service. Mt Cook General Manager Sarah Williamson said alternative arrangements would be made for affected customers and other aircraft from the Air New Zealand fleet would be used. "We apologise to customers for the inevitable inconvenience caused by undertaking a full check of our fleet. However the safety of our customers, our staff and our aircraft is paramount and non-negotiable for the airline." The ATR-500 aircraft have been used by Mt Cook since 1999. The airline said the planes were an average of 10.9 years old. They service 10 destinations around New Zealand.

With aircraft being returned to the air so quickly it can't really be a major issue... more a better safe than sorry. Annoying for passengers though!

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