Australia's Qantas Airways has signed its expected order for 12 more Bombardier Q400s, becoming the first airline to order the aircraft since a series of incidents at SAS brought the regional turboprop's safety under scrutiny.
On behalf of its QantasLink regional airline, Qantas has signed a firm order for 12 Q400s, valued at $339 million, and taken options and purchase rights on an additional 24 aircraft. QantasLink already operates seven Q400s, with two more from a previous order to be delivered in January 2008.
"These additional aircraft will be used to increase capacity and service frequency on key regional routes, as well as pursue new growth opportunities," says Narendra Kumar, Qantas group general manager, regional airlines.
Confirmation of the Qantas order is a boost for Bombardier following Scandivanian airline SAS's highly public decision to dispose of its entire Q400 fleet following three gear-related landing incidents in September and October.
"This follow-on order is further evidence of the Q400 airliner's value to the airlines that operate the aircraft," says Steven Ridolfi, president, Bombardier Regional Aircraft.
After meeting in early November to review the airworthiness of the Q400, the European Aviation Safety Agency concluded the landing-gear accidents were not the result of a design fault and the aircraft's airworthiness was maintained.