Sunday, October 28, 2007

SAS grounds all Q400 aircraft until further notice

SAS Q400 turboprop aircraftScandinavian Airlines (SAS), the joint flag carrier of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, announced today that they are grounding their entire fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprop aircraft "until further notice" following a third accident in less than two months.

The latest accident involving the Q400 (a.k.a. Dash-8 Q400) happened yesterday afternoon at Copenhagen when an aircraft slid down the runway on its belly after its main landing gear collapsed. Prior to landing, the crew reported problems with the main landing gear. Flight SK 2867, arriving at Copenhagen from Bergen, had 40 passengers and four crew on board. Everyone evacuated the aircraft, and no one was seriously injured.

In a public statement issued by the airline, SAS President and CEO Mats Jansson said, "Confidence in the Q400 has diminished considerably and our customers are becoming increasingly doubtful about flying in this type of aircraft. Accordingly, with the Board of Directors' approval, I have decided to immediately remove Dash 8 Q400 aircraft from service."

Jansson's deputy, John Dueholm, added, "The Dash 8 Q400 has given rise to repeated quality-related problems and we can now conclude that the aircraft does not match our passengers' requirements concerning punctuality and regularity. SAS's flight operations have always enjoyed an excellent reputation and there is a risk that use of the Dash 8 Q400 could eventually damage the SAS brand."

Last month all Bombardier Q400 with more than 10,000 cycles were grounded temporarily until their landing gear could be inspected. The action followed two accidents in Europe which entailed Q400 landing gear failures. Fortunately none of these accidents have resulted in serious injury.

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