View Full Version : Flight deal setback for Virgin

15th Dec 2003, 10:36
Mon "Courier Mail"

Flight deal setback for Virgin

VIRGIN Blue has temporarily suspended its recently won right to fly extended range twin-engine operations that allowed its Boeing 737s to make quicker cross-country flights. But the decision related to "record keeping" and had nothing to do with safety, airline spokesman David Huttner said.

"A few weeks ago we found some discrepancies in our record keeping and we chose to suspend these operations while we improve the system," he said.

In October, Virgin Blue announced that its safety and maintenance records had been rewarded by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's decision to approve ETOPS flights.

They follow a more direct route because there is no requirement for the aircraft to be within an hour of an airport at all times. Flights are usually quicker and there are fuel savings.

Mr Huttner said the suspension of ETOPS operations would only add a few minutes flying time for some passengers on trans-continental operations such as Brisbane-Perth.

"We have operated for three years without ETOPS and will reinstate the program once we are confident it is operating to a high standard," he said.

A CASA spokesman said the authority was "obviously happy Virgin Blue has taken this action because we would otherwise have had to do something".

"They realised they had some issues they had to address and voluntarily stopped," he said. "I think it had something to do with maintenance. But there has been no suggestion of them doing anything wrong or anything like that. "

Last week a Virgin Blue Boeing 737 and a light aircraft almost collided as the commercial flight was descending into Melbourne after a flight from the Gold Coast.

Mr Huttner said the airline's report on the incident was almost ready for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which is investigating.

"We are as keen as everyone is to find out what really occurred," he said of the incident, which air traffic controllers have blamed on a newly introduced system that allows light aircraft into areas used by commercial flights without having to make radio contract with control towers.


Z Force
15th Dec 2003, 16:44
I believe that CASA has two employees working with Virgin to sort out irregularities with parts and what aircraft they are on.