End of operation of Bombardier Q400 aircraft at LOT Polish Airlines.
In September 2022, it was reported that LOT Polish Airlines had begun withdrawing Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft from service. It seemed that this was a decision preceded by analyzes and logical. Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft have been used by PLL LOT since 2012, in the amount of 12 copies. During the Chinese virus pandemic and after the start of the war in Ukraine, the planes lost their functionality.
There was also a little-known but difficult situation for passengers. When a passenger was returning from America and had a combined New York - Okęcie - Balice or Jasionka ticket; at the Okęcie airport, a passenger changed from a Boeing B.787 to a Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft and it happened that his luggage did not fit on the Bombardier aircraft. Luggage was delivered on the next flight.
It is worth mentioning that the official presentation of the Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft took place on May 28, 2012, after the first scheduled flights. An aircraft with the registration SP-EQB (No. 4407) was shown at that time. The Bombardier Q400 in the colors of EuroLot (flight number K2 555) made its first flight from Warsaw (Okęcie) to Rome (Ciampino) on May 25, 2012. It was a charter flight. On July 8, 2012, Bombardier Aerospace confirmed that the Danish leasing company Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC) has signed a purchase and leaseback contract for four out of eight Q400 aircraft ordered by Eurolot.
Already in 2014, EuroLot handed over the first of 11 Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft, registration SP-EQA No. 4406. The aircraft was completely repainted in white, and its owner was the leasing company Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC).
In March 2015, EuroLot, operating since 1997, announced its closure. Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft used by EutoLot have started to be transferred to the LOT Polish Airlines fleet. On April 14, 2015, the first Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft was handed over. Already then, LOT Polish Airlines signaled its willingness to get rid of the Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft and replace them entirely with Brazilian Embraer ERJ-170 aircraft. At that time, LOT Polish Airlines already had 10 ERJ-170 / ERJ-175 aircraft.
It is worth knowing that the Polish-language media strongly attacked the ERJ-170 aircraft, the Embraer concern and the very contacts between Poland and the Brazilian industry. It was reported that the ERJ-170 and related aircraft were uneconomical and much more expensive to maintain than the Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400. This turned out to be a lie.
The transfer of Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft to LOT Polish Airlines took a long time, because LOT Polish Airlines did not accept aircraft directly from EuroLot, but from NAC, the lessor. In addition, LOT Polish Airlines had to hire pilots and technicians licensed to operate Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft, mainly from the bankrupt EuroLot. Of course, the Polish-language media attacked the management of PLL LOT that it could have been better prepared for the transaction. Let us remember that there was still a strong German lobby that dreamed of giving LOT Polish Airlines to the German carrier Lufthansa. Such a local Gemanian-Ruthenian patriotism.
Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft technical problems.
Now we have come to one of the weaknesses of the Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft, which is the problem with the aircraft's landing gear. And we must emphasize that these were problems not only in Poland. This matter was described in detail in one of the previous chapters. That's why we just gave a signal here. But let's remember that these were not the only problems with these planes.
In Poland, at the Rębiechowo Airport, tests were carried out using a boarding sleeve for boarding passengers of Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft. The result was positive. But let's remember that low-cost airlines do not like this option, because it increases costs. There is an extra charge for the sleeve.
Currently (2022), the order book for the new Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 NextGen aircraft is only 12. Therefore, in 2023, aircraft production will be suspended. The Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 NextGen version has larger overhead luggage compartments. The rear trunk is the same capacity. LED lighting was used, with a greater range of adjustment. 68 - 90 seats can be installed in the passenger compartment.
Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 farewell cruise. 2022-12-06.
On December 6, 2022, LOT Polish Airlines has planned the last flight of the Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft. The aircraft will fly on the Okęcie - Okęcie route. The flight will last 90 minutes. Tickets were sold until November 21, 2022, via a dedicated telephone number.
List of Bombardier DHC 8 Q 400 aircraft in Poland:
In 2012, the government of the Republic of Poland bought 8 aircraft for EuroLOT. Later, 3 more planes joined. These are machines marked Bombardier Q400 NextGen / DHC-8-402. The letter Q stands for series. DHC stands for De Havilland Aircraft of Canada. The number 8 is the eighth construction of the bet. The number 402 is a repetition of the 400 series with the aircraft cabin configuration.
1 No. 4406, Type 402, SP-EQA registration. Y78 configuration. May 17-18, 2012 Delivered in 2014.
2 No. 4407, Type 402, registration SP-EQB. Y78 configuration. May 25-28, 2012 It was painted in the colors of the Wedel company - Bird's Milk.
3 No. 4408, Type 402, SP-EQC Registration. Y78 configuration. May 26-28, 2012.
4 No. 4411, Type 402, registration SP-EQD. Y78 configuration. August 1, 2012.
5 No. 4417, Type 402, registration SP-EQE. Y78 configuration. August 15, 2012 It was painted in the colors of the Podkarpackie Voivodeship. Next user British airline FlyBe.
6 No. 4422, Type 402, registration SP-EQF. Y78 configuration. August 15, 2012 It was painted in the colors of the Wedel company - Bird's Milk.
7 No. 4423, Type 402, Registration SP-EQG. Y78 configuration. September 6, 2012 On September 21, 2017, the Dash 8-400 aircraft, registration SP-EQG, performed a flight from Warsaw to Krakow. Immediately after takeoff, the crew reported problems with the hydraulic system. The crew decided to return to Warsaw and landed safely 75 minutes after take-off. On January 10, 2018, an incident occurred. During the roll-out, the front landing gear folded. The aircraft returned to service on July 3, 2018. On September 9, 2019, the engine turned off during the flight after a fire warning. the plane landed safely. The aircraft returned to service on November 1, 2019.
8 No. 4424, Type 402, registration SP-EQH. Y78 configuration. September 12, 2012 The first incident at LOT Polish Airlines took place on August 28, 2017. The Dash 8-400 aircraft, registration SP-EQH, was to perform a flight from Warsaw to Katowice. The landing gear did not retract after takeoff. The crew landed safely at Okęcie Airport. Next user British airline FlyBe.
9 No. 4442, Type 402, registration SP-EQI. Y78 configuration. 01-05/11/2013.
10 No. 4443, Type 402, registration SP-EQK. Y78 configuration. October 31-November 5, 2013.
11 No. 4451, Type 402, registration SP-EQL. Y78 configuration. November 4-5, 2013.
Two Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft flew for PLL LOT under Danish registrations: OY-YBY and OY-YBZ.
After the liquidation of EuroLot, on April 1, 2015, all aircraft were taken over by PLL LOT.
Written by Karol Placha Hetman