View Full Version : Ansett grounds 3x767s with engine cracks

10th Apr 2001, 17:33
Dow Jones Newswires report:

"Struggling airline Ansett Australia, a unit of Air New Zealand Ltd, said on Tuesday three 767-200 Boeing aircraft will remain grounded after cracks were found on the inside of engine mountings on four aircraft.

One of the four was repaired overnight and is back in service, but it may be as late as Thursday before all the remaining aircraft are repaired and flying again.

Ansett's fleet consists of 64 planes, seven of which are Boeing Co 767-200s.

An Ansett spokesman said he did not know how much the groundings will cost the airline.

Mr Peter Harbison, managing director at consultancy group Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation, said the latest round of groundings will hurt Ansett's commercial standing.

"They really need to get some new aircraft," Mr Harbison said. "These (groundings) are really becoming embarrassing. Commercially now, they're really starting to have a major impact on analysts perceptions."

The Boeing 767-200s are the same planes Ansett grounded in December after it was found routine maintenance checks had not been carried out, a spokesman for the Civil Aviation Safety Authority said.

The CASA spokesman said the safety authority will conduct a separate investigation into the groundings, and will roll the report into its current review into Ansett's maintenance operations.

The Ansett spokesman said if difficulties do arise in repairing the grounded planes, the airline has the option of borrowing one aircraft from Air New Zealand.

"In any event, whatever it is we fully expect to mount a normal operation through Easter," he said. Easter is generally one of the busiest times of year for air travel.

The spokesman declined to comment on Air New Zealand's plans for a fleet upgrade. "We have an ambition to rationalise our fleet, and renew the fleet but we don't have a timeframe on it yet," he said.

The CASA spokesman said it was impossible to say when its report will be finalised but that it will be slowed by the latest events.

CASA wants to know when Boeing issued its service bulletin, when Ansett became aware of it, when it decided to act and why it chose the weekend to act. "Timing is the key issue for us," the spokesman said.

He stressed acting on the Boeing service bulletin is not mandatory.

The Guvnor
10th Apr 2001, 21:10
Received this from a friend...

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Here's the scoop - bluddy media yet again.

(I'll preface this with a caveat - this is the situation as
I knew it when I left work at midnite last nite. Things
may have changed through the nite or this morning
that I'm unaware of).

A "suggested" maintenance bulletin from Boeing became
a "mandatory" check - from what I'm aware of, it came
from CASA or above, but not sure.

We had a 762 in hangar in MEL for it's regular scheduled
maintenance, not even on the rotation cycle for flying
for the next three weeks anyway.
It was one of three that had to be grounded due to this
now mandatory check.
As far as I am aware, they found something on the already
hangared craft with some form of super sensitive ray
machine thingy.

As far as I am aware, these three are the last three that
needed a complete and thorough checking from the
debacle at Xmas last year, given that we had till "April"
to complete the checks. Not sure if it was end of April
or start of April though, which may be why this has

Evidently, the 767-200 fleet of 11 is a vital backbone of our
operations - to lose 3 of them is a definite hiccup, but not
all that dramatic as far as schedules go. Given that 80%
of their flying is on the Golden Triangle, all it means is
a few of the half hourly MEL-SYD flights will be cancelled
or have other equipment substituted where possible.

It may well have been decided that all 7 of the original
bad girls from Xmas are being pulled in this week for
another check, but this would probably mean a day out
of cycle for each one only. Again, I don't know the "true"
story, and news reports on the TV show file footage
from last Xmas, so it's hard to say what is happening.
The flight info on the web site will tell everyone a lot -
if the Golden Triangle services are for the most part
intact and on time, then there can't be too many 767's
out of rotation today.

Seems 2000 was the year the media picked the crap
outta QF - 2001 must be our turn !!!
Not to say we don't deserve the attention if safety is
compromised, just wish they would report facts as facts
and not as hysteria.


11th Apr 2001, 13:33

Interesting response. Always good to have two sides of a debate. Another article, from Sydney Morning Herald gives a little more detail -

In fact there were a whole raft of articles on Ansett and Air NZ over the last few days. Most concentrated on the financial effect, see - http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=182283&thesection=business&thesu bsection (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=182283&thesection=business&thesubsection)

[This message has been edited by newswatcher (edited 11 April 2001).]

11th Apr 2001, 16:20
See "Dunnunda" Forum for more details.......

13th Apr 2001, 13:36
there is a good and informative post from Blacksheep on the Engineers and Technicians board. When oh when will the press limit themselves to facts and stop sensationalising on half truths and rumours ? Not in my time I suspect !

13th Apr 2001, 16:21
Dramatic new turn of events. All the Ansett 767s (except one later model -ER) have been grounded indefinitely, and Ansett has 3 weeks to show cause why its Air Operators Certificate shouldn't be withdrawn.

See "Dunnunda" Forum for more details.......

and I reckon follow the Kiwi newspapers over the next 2 weeks as the full magnitude of the problem hits the owners of Air NZ.
Try www.yahoo.com.au (http://www.yahoo.com.au) and go to the full news section for the headlines.

As for Australia? well they gotta learn that there is a reason why most countries won't let their national aircarriers be sold to someone offshore. Guess it's school time downunder.

13th Apr 2001, 17:13

I sincerely hope that you are not suggesting that AN's poor maintenance record is due to Air NZ's buyout.

David H
13th Apr 2001, 17:23
And Air New Zealand itself is owned 25% by Singapore Airlines, something which I am sure will interest many here given all the recent comments about that latter airline.

Air New Zealand is not exactly deep in resources, managerial and financial, itself, so one wonders whether absorption of Ansett has caused normal regulatory and maintenance oversights to slip a little..... This certainly seems a bad stain on Australia's civil aviation reputation.

15th Apr 2001, 10:20
Ansett Airline Is Left Scrambling
After Authorities Ground Planes

Associated Press

SYDNEY, Australia -- Ansett Airline scrambled Friday to find seats for thousands of passengers after aviation authorities grounded 10 of its planes because of sloppy maintenance.

The chief executive of Air New Zealand , Gary Toomey, has conceded the grounding this Easter weekend of 10 Boeing 767s from the fleet of its unit Ansett Australia is a serious setback for the airline group.

Mr. Toomey told a Sunday newspaper that direct losses from the grounding won't be significant but said damage to the group's reputation is a major concern.

"All in all we have got the operation [still] running. The issue is about perception. We are very concerned about that," Mr. Toomey told the newspaper.

Late Thursday, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority grounded Ansett Airline's 10 Boeing 767s because of safety concerns and threatened to ground the carrier's remaining 53 planes too if it cannot prove its maintenance operations are up to scratch.

The grounded planes are unlikely to be allowed to fly again until early next week.

Long lines of passengers grew at rival airlines' counters at Sydney Airport early Friday while only a few gathered at the Ansett check-in desks.

Ansett spokesman Geoff Lynch said the airline was leasing planes and finding seats on rival carriers to ensure 35,000 people scheduled to fly Saturday got to their destinations. "Our focus is absolutely on moving Easter holiday makers," Mr. Lynch said.

"We've got a fleet of 63 aircraft, 10 of which have been grounded. That capacity has been made up by jets that we have leased, chartered and seats we have booked on other airlines. Similar arrangements will be made for the following days." Mr. Lynch added.

Ansett has been plagued by maintenance problems in recent months and has been forced to ground planes for safety reasons, including failure to perform regular checks.

CASA Director of Aviation Safety Mick Toller said Thursday the authority had just heard of an Ansett 767 plane that operated last weekend for more than a day with none of its emergency slides in the operating position.

"Safety problems with the 767 fleet keep appearing, the latest having been brought to CASA's attention just this morning," Mr. Toller said. "For me, I'm afraid it's the last straw."

Ansett rejected CASA's criticism, saying all its planes were airworthy. "We've never actually compromised safety, certainly we've made some mistakes and interestingly Ansett has always reported those mistakes to CASA," Mr. Lynch said.

Mr. Lynch appealed to passengers to be patient. "It is going to be hectic at airports, staff are under pressure, but they are doing their absolute best under difficult circumstances and we'll get customers to their destinations as quickly as possible."