Spanair "considered replacing crash aircraft"

Other News Materials 29 August 2008 22:20 (UTC +04:00)

Just before it took off on its fateful flight, Spanish airline Spanair had considered replacing the plane that crashed nine days ago at Madrid airport killing 154 people, it emerged Friday. ( dpa )

Transport Minister Magdalena Alvarez told parliament that the airline then decided, after all, to allow it to take off after a further inspection.

She said the pilot had already called off one takeoff before the crash, because a problem had been detected with a temperature gauge.

The minister, however, ruled out any notion that the crash happened because the airline, a subsidiary of the Scandinavian SAS group, was experiencing financial difficulties.

The MD-82 crashed on August 20, just after take-off for the Canary Islands, killing 154 and injuring 18 people.

A radio report earlier said Spanish police intended to question technicians who failed to inform them that a reverse thruster of the plane involved in the crash was faulty and had been blocked.

Radio station Cadena Ser quoted police sources as saying three days earlier, technicians found a fault in the plane's right-hand reverse thruster and locked it. The reverse system helps planes to brake.

Safety regulations allow the procedure, but the technicians failed to inform police about it during questioning after the accident.

Police discovered it when examining the plane's maintenance documents, according to Cadena Ser.

The reason for the silence of the technicians was not known. It was not clear whether the blockage of the thruster may have contributed to the accident.