Belgium's public prosecutor has ordered rechecks on aircraft under the supervision of Sabena Technics for the past two months after the discovery of unexplained damage to aircraft undergoing maintenance.

The Belgian transport ministry says that, following the discovery, the police and public prosecutor are leading an investigation.

A spokesman for transport minister Etienne Schouppe says problems were found on 5 March, adding: "After some checks, Sabena Technics discovered things that are not normal.

"It is clear that some things are not normal and that would not normally occur in the maintenance of aircraft. These things would endanger passengers and crew on board aircraft. We take this very seriously."

Sabena Technics' general director at Brussels, Willy Buysse, insists that the defects discovered were in "non-critical systems", which would not have endangered flight.

"We have seen, on one aircraft being repaired, that certain defects were not random," he tells ATI, adding that the three defects discovered were "very visible" and probably the result of "human intervention".

He declines to identify the aircraft type or customer involved, but stresses that the company has introduced additional security measures.

Sabena Technics' Brussels operation is undergoing restructuring. Some 370 jobs are set to be cut from the workforce of about 1,100 and Buysse says this has created tension within the company as it handles the negotiation phase with its personnel.

Buysse says the company is co-operating with the investigation but no conclusions have yet been drawn on the cause of the irregularities.

Belgium's public prosecutor has ordered the rechecking of all aircraft under Sabena Technics supervision for the past two months. Belgian aeronautical inspection agency DGTA is also involved with the investigation.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news