Over in the USA my colleague Mary Kirby, in her Runway Girl blog, has highlighted an Austrian Airlines demonstration of how to keep your head, while your Star Alliance partners at SAS are losing theirs, by shrugging off a minor Q400 technical problem and underlining faith in the reliability of the aircraft.
To be fair, SAS might have learned how to throw its spectacular strop from another European airline which, back in 2003, was experiencing its own frustrating episodes with the Q400.
Persistent niggling problems culminated in one of its aircraft shedding a wheel on take-off, whereupon the carrier in question lost its rag and furiously told Bombardier to sort the Q400 out pretty damn quick, and give the airline “massive support” to eliminate the technical issues, or it could kiss any more orders goodbye.
“Our image has suffered greatly as a result of this series of technical problems,” stormed the airline’s then-managing director, a phrase not dissimilar to SAS’ own sentiments this week when it axed the Q400 from its fleet.
Which European carrier was spitting so much venom about the reliability of the Q400? Step forward Tyrolean Airways, the Q400 operator for…Austrian Airlines!