Monday, 5 November 2007

Mickeying Around: Maintenance Error on SAS Q400 Accident Aircraft

When my three year old daughter asked to ride a train on Saturday at Disney World and I responded by taking her on Thunder Mountain Railroad, it became pretty clear about 10 seconds into the ride that we were in fact on a roller coaster, and that mommy had made a big mistake (easily judged by my wee one's ghostly white complexion and insistence that she doesn't like trains anymore). I quickly regained ground by acquiescing to every whim and fancy for the rest of the day. But the fact remains: I could have avoided a lot of anguish (and money) had I not rushed headlong into a decision before becoming well-informed.

It's a lesson that SAS Group might be pondering right now, after Danish investigators indicated that a maintenance error led to the landing-gear actuator blockage which caused a Scandinavian Airlines Bombardier Q400 to conduct a gear-up landing at Copenhagen last month, and SAS to axe it entire Q400 fleet.

The hoopla and negative press that followed may prompt Bombardier to take legal action. But the Canadian manufacturer has received a resounding vote of confidence from the industry, which largely sees SAS's decision as a knee-jerk reaction. Should SAS start back-peddling like a apologetic mom at Disney World, or stand it's ground? The roller coaster ride is just beginning, me thinks.

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