Air New Zealand is inspecting their entire fleet of ATR aircraft after hairline cracks were found in the area around the cockpit windows during a routine overnight inspection in Christchurch (CHC).
Aircraft engineers have started the inspections. The ATR fleet consists of 11 aircraft operated by Mount Cook for Air New Zealand. One aircraft has already been inspected in Queenstown (ZQN) and no problems were located; this aircraft meets all operational standards and is back in service. However, checks are continuing on the remaining aircraft.
Mount Cook has had the ATR-72-500 in service 1999 and the aircraft have an average age of 10.9 years. This aircraft seats 68 passengers and operates into ten destinations in New Zealand.
Sarah Williamson, Mt Cook’s General Manager, said all services were cancelled this morning while the ATR fleet was inspected and that alternative arrangements would be made for affected customers. It’s likely other aircraft from the Air New Zealand fleet will be used for some operations today.
Williamson said, “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.”
Air New Zealand customers who are traveling with Mount Cook are advised to check flight arrival at departure times on the airlines website at – www.airnewzealand.co.nz – for the most up to date schedules.