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Operator of crashed Manx2 flight faced possible grounding

Spanish authorities have disclosed that they took preliminary action last month to suspend the air operator's certificate of Flightline, the carrier linked to February's fatal Manx2 Fairchild Metro III crash at Cork.

Documentation detailing the breakdown of the newly-revised European Union blacklist states that the European Commission discussed Flightline's situation with Spanish air security agency AESA on 14 March.

The documentation says that AESA "initiated the process" to suspend Flightline's AOC and also stopped it from operating Metro IIIs as part of "precautionary measures to address the immediate safety concern".

Flightline had entered an arrangement to operate two Metro IIIs which, the documentation says, had previously been operating under the AOC of another Spanish carrier, Eurocontinental.

But following ramp inspections and "significant safety incidents" with the operation of the aircraft, AESA had suspended the Eurocontinental AOC.

Flightline's arrangement to operate the Metro IIIs was made with a company identified as Air Lada - not a certified carrier but a company which would provide pilots for the two aircraft.

The documentation says that Flightline carried out conversion training of the pilots, as well as quality checks on the Isle of Man regarding the aircraft operation.

Flightline could not immediately be reached for comment on the discussions.

But the documentation says AESA confirmed to the Commission's air safety committee that Flightline had drawn up a corrective plan and taken action to address the issue.

At a subsequent meeting with committee on 5 April, it adds, Flightline said it had revised pilot selection, training and control procedures - particularly for services operating away from the carrier's main base - and amended its operations manual to include guidance on use of alternate airports.

Irish investigators are still working to determine the reasons behind the 10 February crash at Cork, where a Flightline service on behalf of Manx2 was attempting to land in poor weather conditions.

The documentation states: "In light of the actions undertaken by the competent authorities of Spain in resolving the identified safety deficiencies of is assessed that, at this time, no further action is necessary.

"However, the Commission underlined that if such actions are ineffective in improving the performance of air carriers certified in Spain, action would be necessary to ensure that identified safety risks have been adequately controlled."

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