January 17, 2017 / 7:02 AM / in a year

REFILE-Australia's Qantas grounds 10 aircraft on overdue inspections

(Corrects dateline to Sydney)

SYDNEY, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Qantas Airways, Australia’s biggest airline, said it had grounded 10 turboprop aircraft and cancelled some flights after failing to complete inspections in a timely manner.

“This is an administrative issue that relates to technical compliance and not a safety issue with the aircraft,” a Qantas spokesman said on Tuesday, without giving any further details.

A person with knowledge of the situation said the delay was due to confusion over the need to inspect bolts that Qantas had replaced on some of its 31 Q400s following a directive from the aircraft maker Bombardier Inc to do so.

The airline reported the issue to Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority once it realised the new bolts had to be checked after a deadline for inspections had lapsed, said the person, who was not authorised to speak publicly about the matter.

The 76-seat Qantas Q400s fly regional routes on Australia’s east coast under its QantasLink brand.

“We are rebooking affected customers on alternative flights and apologise for the inconvenience,” the Qantas spokesman said.

“Disruption is expected to be minimal aircraft have already started returning to service.” (Reporting by Jamie Freed; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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