MICHAEL PHELAN / LONDON
Bombardier defended the Q400's reliability last week after an attack by Tyrolean Airways, claiming the problems met by the Austrian regional are unique. Vagn Soerensen, chief executive of Tyrolean parent Austrian Airlines Group, called for "massive support in eliminating the technical problems we are having", following Tyrolean's latest Q400 incident on 27 January in which a main landing gear wheel detached on take-off from Frankfurt Main Airport.
Soerensen says the high level of cancellations on the Salzburg-Frankfurt route were caused by Q400 electronic problems. The Q400 has had reliability problems since service entry and Bombardier has developed several modification programmes (Flight International, 4-10 December 2001). Bombardier says Q400 reliability had been improving at Tyrolean until the 27 January incident.
The manufacturer will introduce modifications to improve the reliability of Tyrolean's eight Q400s, and will provide extra on-site technicians and spares. Bombardier will also provide a back-up aircraft for at least six months.