SAS Says It Has Found Corrosion and Rust in Landing Gear on all its Checked Turboprops

STOCKHOLM, Sweden_Scandinavian airline operator SAS AB on Friday said it had found rust and corrosion in the landing gear of virtually all its turboprop planes.

SAS spokeswoman Elisabeth Manzi said the company had found the problem in all the Bombardier Q400 aircraft it had inspected so far. "There is one or two left to check," she said of SAS's fleet of 27 turboprops, "but we have found rust and corrosion on those checked."

"It is of course serious that we have found faults in this many planes," Manzi said.

Landing gear problems in the Bombardier Q400 turboprops led to the crash of an SAS plane on landing in Denmark on Sept. 9 and a similar incident, with the same type of plane, in Lithuania three days later. No one was seriously injured in those accidents.

The accident led aircraft maker Bombardier to order a worldwide grounding of all Q400 planes that had made at least 10,000 flights. SAS also said it would replace landing gear all its Q400 aircraft even if no faults were found.

Manzi said that SAS had not discovered the landing gear problems until now because the faults were found in landing gear components that were not included in Bombardier's maintenance program for the turboprops.

"This part wasn't included," she said.