Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) last week grounded Brisbane-based Transair - the airline involved in the May 2005 Lockhart River, Queensland, crash which killed 13 passengers and two crew, writes Emma Kelly.

CASA says it suspended Transair's air operator's certificate (AOC) as it has reason to believe the airline "had engaged, may be engaging or was likely to engage in conduct constituting, contributing to or resulting in a serious and imminent risk to air safety". The regulator had already been concerned about Transair's maintenance practices, but its latest worries are related to flying operations following information from reliable sources.

The authority cancelled Transair's AOC in October, but the airline continued operating while it appealed. CASA's latest action is to ground the airline for five days as the investigation continues and it applies to continue the suspension.

The latest action follows the issue of an enforceable voluntary undertaking by the safety regulator earlier this year due to safety concerns at the company. CASA was concerned with "organisational structural problems, systemic documentation and reporting problems impacting on maintenance procedures, and quality control and review".

The Lockhart River accident was the country's worst in nearly 40 years. The Fairchild Metro III crashed on an RNAV (GNSS) approach on 7 May 2005, 11km (6nm) north-west of Lockhart River aerodrome. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau expects to release a final report in March 2007.

It has already issued a number of recommendations and is continuing to investigate the operator.

Source: Flight International