Enquiry into planes serviced in Belgium

12th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

Sabena Technics chief Willy Buysse said the faults found were "very visible and not critical".

BRUSSELS - Investigators are probing minor "faults", possibly due to criminal damage, in planes detected during maintenance in Belgium, officials said Tuesday, urging airlines to double-check their planes.

"During internal quality controls, carried out (in Brussels) by Sabena Technics... faults were discovered" transport minister Etienne Schouppe said in a statement.

"Because a deliberate act cannot be ruled out, police and the public prosecutor have called for an enquiry," he added.

Sabena Technics chief Willy Buysse said the faults found were "very visible and not critical," such as the cutting of the cable on an onboard intercom.

Belgium's Air Transport Directorate General has called on Sabena Technics to encourage airlines to carry out further technical investigation on all planes handled by the maintenance company over the last month and a half.

In January, the company announced a restructuring programme including the loss of over a third of its 1,090 jobs.

On Tuesday workers went on strike over the redundancy terms on offer to those out of a job.

Buysse said he regretted the way Schouppe had announced the problems, saying the announcement itself would cause yet more problems.

"The personnel feel they are being accused, while there is no proof that any of them were involved," he said.

Extra security measures have been introduced for all aircraft handled by Sabena Technics, according to the statement.

The maintenance company, based at Brussels airport, is a former affiliate of Belgium's Sabena airlines but survived the airline's bankruptcy in 2001. It is now part of the French TAT group.


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