Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thousands hit as Air New Zealand grounds planes

WELLINGTON: About 3,000 people in New Zealand had their travel plans disrupted Sunday when Air New Zealand grounded 11 aircraft after cracks were found around the cockpit windows of one plane.

The aircraft were all ATRs -- propeller-driven 68-seaters operated by Air New Zealand subsidiary Mt Cook Airlines on regional services.

About 60 flights were cancelled after hairline cracks were found in an aircraft during a routine overnight check.

Mount Cook general manager Sarah Williamson said they expected to operate approximately two-thirds of their normal seat capacity on Monday as the ATR fleet was checked and returned to service.

The inspections were being conducted in conjunction with aircraft manufacturer ATR.

"We are making good progress. Of our fleet of 11 aircraft, we expect two aircraft to be operating tomorrow; three others require closer examination and five are well advanced in the inspection process," she said.

Mt Cook has used the ATR-500 aircraft since 1999 and the average age of the current fleet is 10.9 years old.

- AFP/ck

View the original article here

Source From Channel News Asia

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