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RIGA - Latvia’s national airline airBaltic, together with engineers from Canadian air technology company Bombardier and experts from the Civil Aviation Agency have improved the new Q400 NextGen aircraft control mechanisms to minimize any risks to the aircraft, reports Nozare.lv. After a recent emergency landing by one of airBaltic’s Q400 NextGen aircraft, the airline took immediate action to improve the control mechanisms, said airBaltic Vice President Janis Vanags at a press conference on Dec. 10.
The fourth Q400 NextGen aircraft was received by airBaltic at the Riga International Airport on Dec. 9, one which had made a technical landing in Reykjavik before arriving in Riga.
Altogether, the new airBaltic planes have already been used by a total of 120,000 passengers and have clocked 3,100 flight hours. The new plane delivered will be used in training flights, and only later will it be employed for regular flights.
The new Q400 Next Gen planes that airBaltic bought appeared to have problems with cabin pressure, Civil Aviation Agency’s Aeronavigation Department’s head Maris Cernonoks said earlier. The problem is due to faulty cabin doors that do not shut completely, said Cernonoks, adding though that speculation that this fault could result in aircraft explosion or damage passenger health was unfounded. The Canadian company has overlooked a certain technical aspect, and the Civil Aviation Agency has already reported this to the European Aviation Safety Agency.
Due to the cabin door not shutting completely, the cabin was not sealed off, so passengers felt a certain discomfort due to pressure changes, which cannot be regulated in such a situation, explained the expert.
Visually the door appears to be tightly shut, and there are no signals warning otherwise. Only when the plane takes off does it become obvious that the door is not completely shut and the cabin is not airproof, said Cernonoks.
Bertolt Flick, president and CEO of airBaltic, commented that “Completing financing for the Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft was a large transaction. These new, fuel-efficient, and state-of-the-art aircraft will allow airBaltic to maintain low unit costs. This is important in an environment where fuel costs are growing and customers in our markets are becoming increasingly price-sensitive.”