updated 9/26/2007 1:47:00 PM ET 2007-09-26T17:47:00

National airline Air New Zealand has temporarily grounded its fleet of 17 Beech 1900D aircraft for safety inspections, canceling some 60 flights and affecting about 1,000 passengers.

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The action comes after a maintenance inspection late Monday discovered an "issue" with an undercarriage component on one of the 19-seat airplanes used by its domestic subsidiary airline, Eagle Air, the carrier said in a statement Tuesday. It did not elaborate.

The airline is inspecting all 17 of the planes — made by Wichita, Kansas-based Hawker Beechcraft Corp. — with nine of 14 inspected so far already certified and returned to service, it said.

Five airplanes requiring replacement parts are expected to return to service in the next two days, while the remaining inspections likely will be completed later Wednesday, the airline said.

In June, an Eagle Air Beech 1900D was forced to land on its under belly at Blenheim airport — on New Zealand's south island — when its landing gear failed to descend.

Nobody was hurt in the incident which is being investigated by New Zealand's Transport Accident Investigation Commission and by Eagle Air.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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