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Swiss vintage flights grounded after deadly JU-Air crash

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Swiss vintage flights grounded after deadly JU-Air crash
One of the grounded JU-Air planes in Dübendorf. Photo: AFP
09:41 CET+01:00
Two vintage Ju-52 planes stationed at the Dübendorf airfield in Zurich have been grounded immediately over potential safety issues in the wake of a interim report into an August crash in which 20 people died.

The planes operated by JU-Air had resumed flight operations shortly after the August 4th accident involving a third Ju-52 aircraft belonging to the airline.

But they will now remain on the tarmac until further notice over potential safety concerns, the Swiss Federal Aviation Office (BAZL) said in a statement on Tuesday.

The announcement comes after the Swiss Transportation Safety Investigation Board released an interim report into the August accident which showed the aircraft involved had serious structural damage.

The agency said there were significant cracks and corrosion to the main wing spar and other parts of the plane.

BAZL said this damage could not be uncovered during normal maintenance work and inspections.

But the agency also stressed it was not yet clear if that structural damage was responsible for the crash in August.

The JU-52 HB-HOT aircraft operated by JU-Aircrashed into the Piz Segnas mountain, in the eastern canton of Graubünden, at an altitude of 2,540 metres on August 4th. All 20 people on board, including three crew members, were killed.

The plane was built in 1939 and had completed 10,187 flight hours. It had to be serviced every 35 flight hours and underwent its last technical check-up in late July, only a few days before the fatal crash en route from Locarno, in the canton of Ticino, to Ju-Air's base in Dübendorf, in the canton of Zurich.

Both pilots were experienced and had flown for Swissair and the military for more than 30 years, according to a JU-Air statement

The Swiss airline voluntarily suspended flight operations after the accident but these resumed on August 17th with new safety rules being put in place.

Read also: Drone comes within 20 metres of colliding with plane in Zurich

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