SAS and Bombardier Settle Over the Q400

At the end of October, I asked whether Bombardier and SAS should kiss and make up over their differences. Yeah, sure there were three Q400 landing gear issues in two months, but what’s a little malfunction between friends?

08_03_12 sasq400fix

Fortunately, that’s all water under the bridge now, and the two sides did come together to hash out a reconciliation. What’s the plan? Bombardier will fork over 1 billion Swedish kronor. That’s only about $164m today, but just wait a week or two and I’m sure that’ll rise to, oh , maybe $300 or $400m.

But wait, there’s more.

As part of the deal, SAS has to buy 27 new planes from Bombardier. Thirteen of those are CRJ-900 jets and fourteen are . . . Q400 NextGen birds. Whaaaaaaaat?!?

Oh yeah, they’re going back to the well. Presumably the title “NextGen” can be interpreted as “LandingGearNowWorks.” But I’d like to quote CEO Mats Jansson here from back in October. “Confidence in the Q400 has diminished considerably and our customers are becoming increasingly doubtful about flying in this type of aircraft.”

Uh oh.

So, they took a huge hit by grounding the entire fleet and saying it wasn’t safe. Now they’re going back to flying the aircraft. Even if everything is fixed up, this still is not going to be an easy marketing sell for the airline to the locals. I bet they’re wishing they hadn’t bad-mouthed it so much back then.

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