11 Mar 2011

Charter airline grounded at own request

12:46 pm on 11 March 2011

A charter airline that flies routes for Air New Zealand has been grounded at its own request just days before the results of an official safety investigation are due.

Air National was suspended from flying on 28 January after a routine audit showed that training records may have been faked and that one pilot was flying in breach of aviation rules.

The Civil Aviation Authority launched an investigation and the flying ban stayed in place despite Air National's efforts to overturn it in court.

The authority says the investigation uncovered numerous additional safety issues.

It sent the results to Air National on 4 March and on Thursday the airline ceased air operations voluntarily and asked for its operating certificate to be revoked, which has now been done.

Air National had been flying the twice-daily return service between Christchurch and Hokitika for Air New Zealand, which has put other planes on the route.