QantasLink has been forced to ground five Bombardier Q400s for up to a week from August 22 after cracks were discovered in a main landing gear component of the aircraft during an inspection.
The inspections were instituted after advice from Bombardier following incidents experienced by another Q400 operator overseas. It is not known if the cracking is related to other landing gear issues with the Q400 which led to incidents in Denmark and Lithuania in 2007.
“Our approach to this issue, which requires the replacement of a main landing gear fitting component, is consistent with Qantas’s proactive, conservative and safety first approach to every part of its operations,” said Qantas CEO Alan Joyce, who added that the issue was not an immediate flight safety concern, but would need to be rectified before the aircraft could return to service.
The grounding of the five aircraft has had a major impact on the airline’s network, although it is understood to be largely quarantined to the Sydney-Canberra route, where Qantas says it is accommodating passengers on supplementary jet flights and using larger aircraft where possible.
The replacement of the landing gear component is expected to take seven days, with QantasLink conducting the work with the assistance of engineers from Bombardier. The airline says that it still has full confidence in the Q400 and that its 16 other aircraft remain in service.