The cracks, in the tail section, were found during a routine maintenance inspection of the aircraft. Engineers are currently inspecting all of the 18 Beech 1900D aircraft in the fleet, which are operated by Eagle Air. Inspections have already been completed on four aircraft, three have been found to be affected.
These Beech 1900D aircraft have been in service with Eagle Air since October 2001 and have an average age of 10.5 years. The 19-seat aircraft operate to 20 destinations around New Zealand.
Eagle Air General Manager Carrie Hurihanganui said Eagle Air services have been cancelled this afternoon as a precautionary measure whilst checks across the Beech fleet are undertaken, and alternative arrangements would be made for the approximately 800 affected customers.
Eagle Air will utilise other aircraft from across the Air New Zealand fleet to assist with moving affected customers.
“We apologise to customers for the inevitable inconvenience caused by undertaking a full check of our fleet. However, the safety of our customers, our staff and our aircraft is paramount and non-negotiable for the airline.”
Customers travelling with Eagle Air are advised to check flight arrivals and departures on Air New Zealand’s website www.airnewzealand.co.nz for the most up to date schedules.