AIR NEW ZEALAND, suddenly grounded ten of the 13 Boeing 737-200s, in its domestic fleet on 17 February.

Managing director Jim McCrea says that the decision followed the fourth turbine failure on a Nordam hushkitted Pratt & Whitney JT8D-15A engine in six months.

The CAA says that the aircraft can be progressively returned to service when the overhauled blades are replaced with new ones.

Lufthansa, which has 12 hushkitted 737-200s with JT8D-15 engines, as opposed to ANZ's -15As, says that it is aware of the New Zealand problem, but has not seen the same phenomenon.

New Zealand sources say that the failures occurred on the T2, T3 and T4 stages and that the problem has affected engines with blades from three different overhaul shops.

It is expected to take until June for the entire fleet to be returned to service.

Source: Flight International