Tuesday, 26 November 2013 16:10

Brindabella planes fly high again following grounding

A Brindabella Airlines plane at Narrabri Airport.
Two of four aircraft return to the skies but some disruptions continue.
Brindabella Airlines says it’s “acutely aware” of the disruption the grounding of four aircraft has had on its customers, but hopes flights will continue to return to normal after two aircraft were given the tick of approval to return to the skies. 
The airline was forced to ground the four aircraft after the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) discovered that maintenance inspections were overdue on several engines.
Two of the four aircraft have now returned to service and began operating  last Friday.
Brindabella says the return of the two aircraft allowed it to “fully support” the schedule last weekend, with flights operating on the Brisbane to Tamworth and Coffs Harbour routes, Sydney to Moree, Narrabri and Newcastle on Saturday and Sunday, with services from Sydney to Mudgee and Orange on Sunday.
In a statement to The Courier this afternoon, Brindabella Chief Commercial Officer, James Blake, said flight schedules have had to be adjusted to maintain service and work is progressing to implement a schedule that will ensure improved service once the remaining aircraft return to the skies.
“Brindabella Airlines acknowledge that schedule reliability has been of concern to the Narrabri community,” he said.
“As a result of a number of aircraft undergoing routine maintenance, in addition to a period of review, schedules have had to be temporarily adjusted in order to maintain maximum service to the majority of the communities served.
“Such adjustments to schedules have resulted in a number of adhoc flight cancellations and delays on the network.
“Brindabella fully acknowledges that a number of customers have been inconvenienced as a result of changes to schedules, however they are working hard to present a revised schedule to the communities served that will deliver schedule integrity and minimise the disruption that has been experienced.
“Brindabella sincerely appreciate the continued loyalty that has been shown by customers.”
CASA spokesperson Peter Gibson told The Courier the review of aircraft was progressing well.
“Suffice to say everything was satisfactory otherwise they wouldn’t have been allowed back into service,” Mr Gibson said.
As part of the review, Brindabella has been reviewing the aircraft and the paperwork associated with the maintenance.
“We asked them to do a maintenance review of the aircraft, going back over 12 months, just checking back over the documentation to make sure nothing else had been over-run and we then observed ground runs of the engines on the aircraft just to doubly make sure that they were operating properly,” Mr Gibson said.
The remaining aircraft are still undergoing that review, and it’s hoped they will return to service within the week.
“I can’t say definitely, we hope this week, but the timing is of course dependent on Brindabella,” said Mr Gibson.
“Once the last two aircraft are cleared we’ll obviously take a look to see what steps may be needed to ensure that there are no inspection over-runs in the future.”
Narrabri Shire mayor, Conrad Bolton, said the council was still awaiting contact from Brindabella to seek answers about the service.
“If this service was delivered on the train service in Sydney there would be hell to pay,” Cr Bolton said.