Five Bombardier Dash 8-100 regional turboprops at Norway’s Widerøe’s Flyveselskap had undergone 80,000-flight cycle (FC) inspections by last month as part of an extended-service program (ESP) approved by Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in 2009. Of the 299 Dash 8-100s built, some 100 constitute the near-term market for the life-extension modifications, according to the manufacturer. Bombardier expects a further 128 will reach the 80,000-cycle threshold during the coming nine years.
Struggling Scandinavian flag carrier SAS has signed an agreement to sell its regional subsidiary Widerøe as part of an ongoing restructuring program to achieve financial stability. SAS will sell 80 percent of Widerøe to Norwegian companies Torghatten ASA, Fjord1 AS and Nordland Fylkeskommune. The sales will include seven Bombardier Q400 turboprops that SAS currently leases to the regional carrier. The transaction must be approved by Norwegian authorities, and is expected to close in September.
SAS’s conciliation with the last of its eight main labor unions in late November allows the Scandinavian carrier to move ahead with the sale of its Wideroe regional subsidiary as part of its “4Excellence Next Generation” restructuring.
Ailing Scandinavian carrier SAS will reduce its workforce by 6,000 employees, sell off its Widerøe regional subsidiary and centralize administrative functions in Sweden in return for an increased credit line from major shareholders and banks of 3.5 billion Swedish kronor ($525 million) through March 2015. The new revolving credit facility has yet to be approved by the parliaments of Sweden and Norway.
The ERA assembly in Rome in September proved a high-profile event for Air Nostrum, as the Spanish airline won the ERA Airline of the Year gold award, and Carlos Bertomeu, the airline’s president and CEO, won reelection as vice president of the ERA board.
An emergency Airworthiness Directive issued by Transport Canada yesterday calls for further inspection of Bombardier Q400 main landing gear (MLG) after line checks uncovered two cases of cam mechanism failure in the gear's alternate extension system (AES). The cam mechanism operates the cable to open the main landing gear door and releases the MLG uplock in sequence.
Qantas removed from service five of the 21 Bombardier Q400s operated by regional affiliate QantasLink in late August after the airline found a defect in what it described as a main landing-gear component. Qantas said it decided to inspect the airplanes and ultimately remove them from service after consultation with fellow Q400 operator Flybe and Bombardier.
The 2008-09 European regional airline of the year is Aegean Airlines of Greece, which has won the award for the second time. COO Antonis Simigdalas (second from left) insisted that his senior management team be present at last month’s European Regions Airline Association general assembly in Manchester (UK) to accept the award. Ireland’s CityJet and Norwegian operator Widerøe placed second and third, respectively.
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) has settled with Bombardier and Goodrich Aerospace the terms of a compensation agreement stemming from the airline’s grounding of its entire fleet of 27 Q400s last year. Although it would not disclose the precise conditions, SAS said the value of the compensation it will receive slightly exceeds 1 billion Swedish crowns ($163.5 million) in cash and credits for future firm and optional aircraft orders.
The European Aviation Safety Agency last month determined that the failure of the main landing gear of a Scandinavian Airlines Q400 on October 27 did not result from a design flaw, and that the latest incident bore no direct relationship with the two earlier cases that led to the grounding of the airline’s entire fleet of 74-seat turboprops.
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