Air National grounded again

New Zealand’s Air National, whose fleet includes a BAe 146, was grounded again on 2 February, for the second time in a year. The airline had briefly stopped flying last September after its flight operations and training manager abruptly resigned. This time the grounding was imposed by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), for what it called “an appalling history of non-compliance with minimum safety standards.” The harsh language came after erroneous training records were found during an audit – possibly “falsified”, in the CAA’s view. Though the airline denied the allegations and noted that it had been operating for twenty years without serious incident, the CAA imposed a ten-day grounding. Air National appealed the decision to the High Court, which ruled that the suspension should be lifted as the airline had responded satisfactorily to issues the CAA raised. But the decision was stayed pending an appeal by the CAA, keeping the airline on the ground. On 7 February, the Court of Appeal reversed the lower court decision, thus keeping the suspension in place until 11 February. Air National’s BAe 146-200, ZK-ECO, is currently parked at Auckland Airport along with several of the airline’s other aircraft.

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