AIR NATIONAL GROUNDED

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore February 3, 2011 12:26

AIR NATIONAL GROUNDED

New Zealand charter airline Air National has been grounded because of safety concerns. The Civil Aviation Authority has imposed a 10-day suspension of Air National’s corporate air operating certificate, which began last Friday.

Air National operates two daily return flights between Christchurch and Hokitika on behalf of Air New Zealand, using a 19-seat Jetstream J32 turbo prop aircraft. The flag carrier says it will use its own Beech 1900D and Bombardier Q300 regional aircraft on the route and no passengers would be affected.

CAA lawyer, Kim Murray, said that Air National had an “appalling history of non-compliance with minimum safety standards and suspension was inevitable when falsified training records were discovered.”  However the airline’s lawyer, Sherridan Cook, said if that was true CAA would have acted earlier.

“Documentation issues” needed attention but the authority’s concerns were far from the kind of real and imminent threat to safety that would justify stopping flights.

Justice Clifford said the company seemed to have responded generally satisfactorily to issues the authority raised. An investigation was justified, and then a decision made on suspension.

A suspension pending an investigation was more appropriate when immediate safety concerns occurred.

Dino D'Amore
By Dino D'Amore February 3, 2011 12:26
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