10 Feb 2011

Fleet grounding 'unnecessary' after plane emergency

11:38 am on 10 February 2011

The Civil Aviation Authority says there is no need to ground a fleet of aircraft after an emergency landing at Blenheim on Wednesday.

An Air Nelson Bombardier Q-300 aircraft landed without a nose wheel in the second emergency of its type at the airport in four months.

The plane had been flying from Hamilton to Wellington landed safely and none of the 41 passengers and three crew members on board were hurt.

The Transport Accident Investigation Commission says it may combine an investigation into Wednesday's emergency with an inquiry underway into an incident in September 2010 when a nose wheel on a Q-300 - also known as Dash 8s - failed.

CAA says unless an inquiry reveals a wider problem with the aircraft, there is no need to ground the Air New Zealand subsidiary's 23-strong fleet of the Canadian-made aircraft.

A special permit is being sought so the plane involved in Wednesday's incident can be moved to Nelson for repairs.

Engineers are trying to determine whether the aircraft can be flown to Nelson with its landing gear locked in place.

Permission is being sought from the aircraft manufacturer and the Civil Aviation Authority.

Air New Zealand says an initial inspection suggests the incident is unrelated to the September incident.