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Myanmar state airline grounds MA60s after landing mishaps

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar’s state airline said Tuesday it will stop flying its Chinese-made MA60 planes following its second accident with the turboprop model in less than a month.

Myanma Airways administration manager Hla Htay Aung said the airline will ground its three Xian MA60s for the time being.

One swerved off the runway Monday while landing in Kawthaung in southeast Myanmar, causing no injuries but damaging both propellers.

He said the three planes, which the airline purchased in 2010, will be inspected and it would be up to government aviation authorities whether they will be allowed to fly again.

Hla Htay Aung said the airline will serve its more than 20 destinations using the seven other aircraft in its fleet -- three twin-engine turboprops made by French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR, two twin-engine U.S.-made Beechcraft turboprops and two Brazilian Embraer passenger jets.

Another Myanma Airways MA60 shot past the end of the runway on May 16 at Monghsat when its brakes reportedly failed. A wing and a wheel were damaged, and two passengers suffered broken arms.

A MA60 operated by Indonesian state-run Merpati Nusantara Airlines landed hard Monday in Indonesia’s East Nusa Tenggara provincial capital of Kupang, injuring several people on board.

In December, a Fokker aircraft belonging to privately owned Air Bagan crash-landed in a rice field in Myanmar’s Shan state, killing two and injuring 11.

Myanma Airways recently retired several aging Fokker F-28 jets from its fleet.