Canadian regulators called for visual inspections of all Bombardier Q-400 turboprop planes worldwide after two separate landing gear failures in three days sent planes skidding across runways.
The air-worthiness directive issued by Transport Canada late Wednesday also called for a more detailed visual inspection of planes that have landed more than 8,000 times, or been in service for over four years.
Bombardier, the world's No. 3 civilian airline manufacturer, ordered the grounding of almost 40 percent of 160 turboprop planes in operation worldwide Wednesday, almost immediately after a Scandinavian Airlines turboprop with 52 people on board skidded off a runway in Lithuania.
No one was hurt, but the incident came on the heels of an SAS crash landing in Denmark on Sunday, when five people were injured.
Danish officials released a preliminary report saying corrosion in the landing gear caused it to collapse.
Transport Canada's advisory said a general visual inspection of all Q-400 landing gear must be conducted. The second advisory relating to a more detailed inspection covers about 85 of the 160 aircraft.
“We understand that this proactive measure will unfortunately inconvenience many of our customers and their passengers,'' said Stephen Ridolfi, Bombardier's president of regional aircraft, in a statement.
“However, safety remains our primary concern. We are working diligently with our customers to ensure the affected aircraft return to revenue service as quickly as possible.”
Groundings of some Q-400s has so far forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights worldwide.
Both SAS and Horizon Air, a regional U.S. carrier operated by Alaska Air Group Inc., each canceled more than 100 flights on Wednesday to inspect their turboprop aircraft, the AP reports.
The Dash 8-400 twin-engined turboprop is produced by Canada's Bombardier and can seat between 68 and 78 passengers.
SAS said Bombardier recommended that all Dash 8-400 planes worldwide with more than 10,000 landing gear cycles be grounded until inspections are carried out.
Aviation regulators in Denmark, Sweden and Norway also ruled that SAS's Dash 8-400 planes must not fly until they can be inspected, Reuters reports.
"We grounded these planes immediately after this. Now we will conduct an investigation," said Anders Lundblad, a spokesman for the Swedish Civil Aviation Authority. "How long it will last, I guess we'll have a discussion with SAS about that."
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