A Croatia Airlines Dash 8 lands safely without nose gear
Last night Croatia Airlines saw its most serious safety incident since it launched operations over twenty years ago. A Bombardier Dash 8 Q400 (registered 9A-CQC) landed at Zurich Airport without its nose gear. The flight, which was operating out of Zagreb, experienced problems upon its approach at Zurich Airport after an emergency light indicated unsafe nose gear. The crew aborted their first landing attempt and made a second one some forty minutes later. Onboard crew declared mayday before landing in Zurich without the nose gear. Zurich Airport halted all traffic in preparation for the emergency. Thanks to the hard work of all crew onboard, the Dash 8 landed safely with all sixty passengers onboard disembarking the aircraft without any reports of injury. Air traffic control at Zurich Airport congratulated the crew by noting, “Excellent job, well done”.
Quickly afterwards, traffic at Switzerland’s busiest airport was resumed. In a statement, Croatia Airlines said, “Croatia Airlines’ crew is well trained a prepared for such incidents and they followed appropriate procedure ensuring the safety of all onboard”. Croatia Airlines introduced its first Dash 8 aircraft in May 2008. The airline operates a total of six aircraft from the Canadian manufacturer, which has a capacity to seat 76 passengers. The aircraft has been praised by the airline’s management several times as it burns less fuel and has lower operational costs.
However, the incident raises questions over the safety of the Bombardier aircraft. Croatia Airlines has seen a string of safety problems with the aircraft with crew publicly speaking out against the type. “The Dash constantly breaks down. Some of the aircraft have micro cracks on the fuselage and corrosion on instillations”, one pilot told the “Večernji list” daily recently. Technicians have also spoken out against the aircraft saying that regular annual maintenance for the type takes up to 25 days while maintenance for the larger Airbus jets take only a week. Exactly a year ago, a Croatia Airlines pilot revealed crew used butter in order to lubricate the forward door on the Dash which refused to close. In May this year, Croatia Airlines crew requested “stress and danger” benefits for all employees working on the Dash 8.
Croatia Airlines has a spotless safety record and has been commended for its safety procedures.