Gippsland GA8 Airvan aircraft being grounded in NZ after fatal crash in Sweden

Source: 1News

The Civil Aviation Authority is grounding all 21 Gippsland GA8 Airvan aircraft in New Zealand after a crash in Sweden which killed 9 people last week.

The small planes are generally used for scenic flights.

Aviation New Zealand Chief Executive John Nicholson said three flight companies currently operated the aircraft including Salt Air, which operates in Auckland and Northland, Air Safari, which operates at Mt Cook and Southern Alps Air.

The aircraft generally seats eight passengers and a pilot, with many used in the South Island around the Milford Sounds and Queenstown.

Director of Civil Aviation Graeme Harris said the grounding was not a decision made lightly.

“I have sufficient concerns about the safety of these aircraft to make it necessary for me to ground them until more is known about the cause of the 14 July crash in Sweden that killed all 9 people on board a GA8 Airvan,” he said in a statement.

“We do not take these steps lightly but when there is a reasonable doubt about the safety of an aircraft, the flying public, operators and pilots of the affected aircraft in New Zealand must be satisfied that the CAA will act with their safety as a priority.”

“Whilst I regret any inconvenience this grounding will cause and acknowledge its significant commercial impact, I simply cannot compromise when I have information that indicates any unacceptable risk.”

A technical specialist from Australia is off to Sweden to help with the investigation into the crash.