Dowty woes hit TI

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The Independent Online
SHARES in TI Group fell by 7p to 408p yesterday after problems with landing gear built by its Dowty subsidiary grounded the first Airbus

A-330 airliner, in service only since the middle of the month, writes Mary Fagan.

Air Inter, which operated the A-330 from Paris to Marseille and Toulouse, said it had suspended the aircraft pending an examination over the weekend by Airbus.

The setback comes at an embarrassing time for TI, which hopes to merge Dowty's landing gear activities with those of Messier-Bugatti, part of France's Snecma group. The merger would create the world's largest landing gear business, with sales of pounds 300m. Messier and Dowty are the main suppliers to Airbus.

A Dowty spokesman said the company was 'aware of the problem of non-retraction on one of the landing gear on an Airbus A-330 aircraft of Air Inter'.

He said Dowty was giving full support to return the aircraft to service as soon as possible.

A spokesman for the four-nation Airbus consortium, which includes British Aerospace, dismissed the malfunction as 'a minor problem in the introduction to service'. He said Air Inter had had intermittent problems with the undercarriage and that there was no threat to safety.