| 5.2°C Dublin

Stricken plane serviced two weeks ago

THE aeroplane involved in the Cork Airport crash which claimed the lives of six people had only been serviced two weeks ago, the Irish Independent has learnt.

The revelation came as Manx2 Airlines said the entire carrier was "devastated" by the scale of the tragedy.

The accident is the worst civil aviation disaster to occur at an Irish state airport.

The aeroplane involved -- a Fairchild Metroliner with a capacity for 19 passengers and crew -- was built at San Antonio in Texas, in the United States in 1992.

It was registered in Spain and was then leased to Manx2 for operations.

It underwent routine maintenance and servicing two weeks ago and was then returned to flight operations.

Every passenger aeroplane undergoes routine service at specified intervals, which can vary from anywhere between four and eight months depending on the aeroplane's intensity of operations or its time in service.

Service intervals are determined by both aviation safety standards and the manufacturer's recommendations.

The aeroplane involved is the only one of its type used by Manx2 and has operated specifically on the Cork-Belfast schedule service.

It is specifically designed for 'thin' commuter routes, where low passenger volumes render the use of a large jet aeroplane uneconomical.

The entire flight crew of the Fairchild -- pilot Jordi Lopez from Spain and co-pilot Andrew Cantle from Sunderland in England -- died in the tragedy.

All the dead were seated in the front portion of the two- engine turboprop.

Irish Independent