MADRID, Spain – Spanair's catastrophic week continued Monday, as yet another plane operated by the airline was forced to turn back due to a technical problem — the second in as many days. On Wednesday, a Spanair jet bound for the Canary Islands crashed during takeoff, killing 154 people.
The plane Monday — from the same MD-80 series as the one that crashed — was 45 minutes into a flight from Granada in southern Spain to the northeastern city of Barcelona when it had to turn back to the airport in Granada, the national airport authority AENA said.
Spanair said the plane was carrying 158 passengers and crew. The aircraft is owned by a small Spanish company called Swiftair, but the crew — including the pilot and co-pilot — were all Spanair employees.
The Spanish news agency Efe quoted passengers on the flight as saying the pilot reported a problem with the aircraft's communication system.
Spanair gave no information about the nature of the problem about Flight JK6621, referring questions to Swiftair. That company said it had no comment.
Spanair said Monday's passengers were later put on other planes. It was the second Spanair-operated plane in as many days to experience problems.
On Sunday, a Spanair jet flying from Barcelona to Lanzarote in the Canary Islands was diverted to Malaga in southern Spain because of a problem with a backup generator. As a special precaution, Spain's civil aviation agency sent inspectors to examine that plane, also part of the MD-80 series.
Meanwhile, forensic teams have Monday, said he would not comment on any aspect of the investigation. He said Spanair planes have passed more than 100 inspections so far this year.
"In general, the company was fine and no problems whatsoever were detected," he said.
He defended Spanish air safety regulations as "safe and trustworthy."