Air New Zealand (ANZ) grounded its entire fleet of ATR 72-500 turboprops on 18th March 2012 after hairline cracks were discovered around windows of one aircraft’ cockpit.
ANZ has 11 ATR 72-500s. Two of these aircraft were returned to service soon after the inspection, three aircrafts needed further assessment, and the rest were going through the inspection process.
The Star Alliance carrier said the 68-seat ATR 72-500s have an average age of 11 years, and are operated by Mount Cook Airline, a regional carrier.
ANZ said it will provide some aircraft to Mount Cook Airline to restore the regional carrier’s capacity.
The cracks were discovered at Mount Cook Airline's base at Christchurch Airport during a scheduled maintenance.
Any heavy maintenance services for Mount Cook Airline's ATR 72 fleet will be done at Nelson Airport, the base of sister regional carrier Air Nelson.