SAS, Bombardier Seal Jet, Turboprop Deal

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A few months ago, SAS, one of Europe’s major airlines, announced it was grounding its fleet of Bombardier Q400 turboprops because it said its customers had safety concerns following three landing-gear emergencies. Tuesday, the airline announced it was buying 27 (with options for more) new Bombardier aircraft, including 14 new model Q400s and 13 CRJ900s. The change of heart has something to do with a deal reached between the planemaker, the airline and Goodrich Corp., which builds the landing gear. SAS said the “compensation” package was worth $167 million against the aircraft deal, which, if all options are exercised, will be worth $1.75 billion.

The three landing-gear incidents occurred over a period of seven weeks late last year. The first one prompted emergency inspections of gear parts for corrosion but investigators suggested maintenance issues were at least partly to blame for the other two. In the final incident in Copenhagen, which drew a lot of attention because of widely publicized video of the landing, Danish authorities determined a rubber ring got stuck in the works and prevented the gear from deploying. While Bombardier and Goodrich defended the design, SAS insisted maintenance was done properly.