Airline Pulls Turboprops From Fleet
Sunday October 28, 12:59 pm ET
By Malin Rising, Associated Press Writer
Crashes After Landing Gear Malfunctions Prompt Airline to Pull Turboprops From Its Fleet
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) -- Scandinavian Airlines said Sunday it will pull Bombardier Q400 turboprops from its fleet after a series of crash landings caused by landing gear malfunctions.
The decision came a day after an SAS turboprop with 44 people on board crash-landed in Denmark when part of its landing gear collapsed, with one wing scraping the ground in a shower of sparks. All passengers and crew were evacuated safely.
The same type of plane, also known as Dash 8, crash-landed twice last month and SAS temporarily grounded its fleet of turboprops. No one was seriously injured.
"Confidence in the Q400 has diminished considerably and our customers are becoming increasingly doubtful about flying in this type of aircraft," SAS chief executive Mats Jansson said in a statement.
The airline said it would replace its 27 turboprops, made by Canada's Bombardier Inc., with other types of aircraft in its fleet, as well as with leased aircraft. SAS warned that it would have to cancel flights "in the period immediately ahead," but did not say how many. The turboprops represented some 5 percent of SAS's total fleet.
The airline had already canceled about 50 flights Sunday and Monday with turboprops after Saturday's emergency landing at Copenhagen's airport.
Bombardier, which has said there are some 160 of the Q400 planes worldwide, recommended airlines to continue flying the aircraft, saying there appeared to be no link between the Saturday's crash-landing and previous incidents involving SAS turboprops.
"According to preliminary information, the incident involved the main right-hand landing gear, which failed to fully extend for landing," Bombardier said in a statement.
However, the SAS board decided to permanently remove the planes from service at an emergency meeting on Sunday.
The airline has said it would demand $78.25 million in compensation from Bombardier for costs and lost income for accidents involving the turboprops. It wasn't immediately clear if SAS would make additional claims after Sunday's decision.
Associated Press Writer Karl Ritter contributed to this report.
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