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Thu, Sep 13, 2007

Transport Canada Issues AD On Q400 Turboprops

Requires Detailed Checks On Planes With Over 8,000 Cycles

Officials with Transport Canada have called for immediate visual inspections of all Bombardier Q400 turboprop regional airliners, following two landing gear failures worldwide over the course of three days.

The Airworthiness Directive, issued late Wednesday, also calls for a more detailed inspection of all Q400s with over 8,000 flight cycles, or have been in service for over four years. That interval is more restrictive than a recommendation issued Wednesday by the planemaker, calling for inspections on planes with over 10,000 cycles.

As ANN reported, Bombardier issued the recommendation after two separate landing accidents involving Q400s flying for Scandanavian Airlines. Both aircraft experienced warning indications while inflight, and suffered collapse of the right maingear leg on landing.

Five passengers were injured in a Sunday incident in Denmark; no one onboard the second SAS Q400, which skidded off a runway in Lithuania early Wednesday, was injured.

"We understand that this proactive measure will unfortunately inconvenience many of our customers and their passengers," Stephen Ridolfi, Bombardier's president of regional aircraft, told The Associated Press. "However, safety remains our primary concern. We are working diligently with our customers to ensure the affected aircraft return to revenue service as quickly as possible."

Several airlines around the world -- including Qantas, Lufthansa, Flybe, All Nippon Airways, Austrian Airlines and Japan Air Commuter -- operate over 160 Q400s. All have grounded the affected planes in their fleets until they can inspected.

US regional carrier Horizon Air was hit particularly hard by the call for inspections.

"Horizon today canceled 120 flights out of its daily average of 500," the Alaska Airlines subsidiary said Wednesday. "Horizon is canceling 156 flights on Thursday, and those will appear in central reservations systems by 5:30 p.m. today. Additional cancellations are also expected on Friday as Horizon works through the inspection requirements."

FMI: www.q400.com, www.horizonair.com

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