Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306s under fire, great plains closes

 - March 28, 2007, 6:18 AM

A cooling deficiency in Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW306B turbofan has forced the company to correct and recertify the design after turbine blades showed premature wear on several Fairchild Dornier 328JETs. A company spokeswoman told AIN that PW&C would perform the “upgrade” as operators turn in their airplanes for regular maintenance. She added that the company expects to win certification for the modification–apparently involving both material and design changes–by this year’s second quarter. Although the company claimed to have increased maintenance capacity to lessen aircraft downtime, delays in returning one of Great Plains Airlines’ 328JETs forced the airline to cancel its service between St. Louis MidAmerica and Chicago Midway Airports, and cut service from MidAmerica to Washington, D.C., and Tulsa, Okla., early in January. Three weeks later the company went bankrupt and suspended all scheduled service until at least the middle of this month. Meanwhile, Atlantic Coast Airlines lost seven of its thirty-two 328JETs to the blade wear in January and another six last month; the Sterling, Va.-based airline expected to return all the airplanes to its Delta Connection system this month.