Mount Cook Airline expects to operate approximately two thirds of its normal seat capacity today with three ATR aircraft in service and additional flying from other aircraft in the Air New Zealand fleet.
Mount Cook General Manager Sarah Williamson said inspections continue on the rest of the fleet in conjunction with aircraft manufacturer ATR.
“We are making good progress. Of our fleet of 11 aircraft, we expect two aircraft to be operating tomorrow; three others require closer examination and five are well advanced in the inspection process. One aircraft was already in the hangar for pre-planned maintenance.
“We expect to introduce more aircraft back into service later on Monday.”
Air New Zealand today cancelled the majority of ATR services operated by Mount Cook Airline after hairline cracks were found in the area around windows of the cockpit in one aircraft during routine overnight maintenance in Christchurch.
Approximately 60 one-way services were cancelled in order for Mount Cook to begin inspections of its full fleet. The cancellations affected around 3000 customers.
Air New Zealand recommends that customers who are booked to fly on Mount Cook services tomorrow should visit the Air New Zealand website www.airnewzealand.co.nz to check their flight status, or call the contact centre on 0800 737 000.
Flight numbers for Mount Cook begin with the number 5 – e.g. NZ5XXX.
Customers whose flights have been cancelled today are currently being contacted where possible and alternative arrangements made for them, including free-of-charge ticket changes.
The ATR-500 aircraft have been in service with Mount Cook since 1999 and have an average age of 10.9 years. The 68-seat aircraft operates to 10 destinations around New Zealand.
Ms Williamson said the airline regretted the cancellations and the inconvenience it caused.
“However the safety of our customers, our staff and our aircraft is paramount and non-negotiable for Mount Cook and Air New Zealand.”