News24

SA Airlink planes grounded

2009-12-24 08:02

Pretoria - All 14 of SA Airlink's Jetstream 41 planes have been grounded - a move which could throw the holiday plans of hundreds of people into disarray.

The planes make up more than half the airline's fleet.

The decision by the Civil Aviation Authority follows the most recent in a spate of incidents involving Airlink planes.

On Wednesday morning smoke emerged from one of the engines of an Airlink Jetstream 41 which was set to take off from Nelspruit. The oil pressure was also low.

According to the CAA the problems are similar to those experienced by the plane which went down in Durban in September. The pilot, Allister Freeman, died 13 days after the crash. The CAA says his co-pilot, Sonja Bierman, can't recall anything about the crash.

An initial report has shown that one of them switched off the working engine instead of the right engine which had cut out because of a faulty air seal.

The problem has been found on 13 Jetstream 41s worldwide. The manufacturer, Honeywell, has not been able to find a solution to the problem.

The CAA said on Wednesday it was grounding the Jetstream 41s as of midnight. They would stay grounded until the CAA issued them with new airworthiness certificates.

Airlink's spokesperson was unable to comment.