Bombardier has confirmed that deliveries of its new Dash 8 Q400 turboprop are likely to suffer significant delays for the next 12 months.

SAS Commuter put the first Q400 into revenue service early this month, four months late, and is to receive another 21 of the 70-seaters by early next year.

"I am hoping that by the first quarter of 2001 we will have delivered all 22 aircraft to SAS Commuter and that by that time we will have caught up," says Bombardier Aerospace vice-president international sales John Howarth, speaking in Copenhagen after the first commercial flight of the Q400.

Bombardier says the delivery delays are being caused by unexpected certification, parts and supplier issues (Flight International, 1-7 February).

SAS is to receive its second aircraft within a few weeks, while Tyrolean will be the second airline to take delivery of a Q400 when it receives the third production aircraft next month, six months late.

Bombardier Q400 programme manager Bob Fear says the type's Downsview, Ontario, production line should be back on track "during the third quarter of this year", although this will prevent on-time deliveries from being achieved before the early part of 2001.

Fear says that although the first 24 production aircraft will have to undergo post production modifications to bring them into line with the final configuration, the work had been planned and is not a direct contributor to the delays. The last aircraft is due to leave the "modification line" by the third quarter of the year.

Industry sources suggest changes to the specification of the Q400 requested by SAS, which ordered a large number of aircraft early in the programme but was not originally a launch customer, may have contributed to the certification delays. Bombardier is to deliver 34 Q400s during its current fiscal year which ends on 31 January, 2001.

Source: Flight International