Swiss grounds Airbus A220 fleet, cancels ‘numerous’ flights

Oct 15, 2019

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UPDATE (Wednesday): Swiss International Air Lines’ fleet of Airbus A220s are returning to service Wednesday, marking progress for the carrier after it grounded all of the planes a day earlier. Full story: Swiss Airbus A220s returning to service a day after grounding

ORIGINAL POST: Swiss International Air Lines has grounded its fleet of 29 Airbus A220 jets for “extensive” engine examinations, resulting in dozens of cancellations on the carrier’s European routes.

Swiss grounded the fleet Tuesday after one of its A220s flying from Geneva, Switzerland, to London diverted to Paris after suffering an engine issue en route.

Bloomberg News notes Tuesday’s incident is the latest in a string of engine issues affecting Swiss’s A220s the past few months, and as a precaution, Swiss has grounded its entire fleet of A220s (formerly known as the Bombardier C Series).

Swiss is currently the world’s largest A220 operator, and has said the decision to ground the planes will put “substantial restrictions” on its flight operations.

In a statement to TPG, Swiss said it “takes these incidents very seriously” and is “in close dialogue with the relevant authorities, with Airbus Canada and with the engines’ manufacturer (Pratt & Whitney).”

“The safety of our customers and our crews is our paramount priority. We will do everything we can to return the operation of our C Series fleet to normal as soon as possible and continue to ensure safe flight operations,” the carrier added, referring to the A220 by its original name.

In a later statement, the airline said some of the aircraft have already returned to service and it expects operations to be mostly back to normal on Thursday.

Customers whose flights were affected will be rebooked by Swiss at the airline’s expense.

The A220 uses a new kind of geared turbofan engine from Pratt & Whitney. The turbine has had some growing pains as the global A220 fleet expands, including one engine that caught fire during a test flight.

Swiss’s fleet of A220s includes both the larger A220-300 and smaller A220-100 variants.

Airbus said it was a aware of the incident and that it will cooperate with an investigation into the incident.

“We sincerely regret this impediment for our customer and its passengers,” Airbus said in a statement to TPG. “Together with the engine manufacturer, we are supporting our customer to minimize disruption to their operations.”

Featured photo by Zach Griff / The Points Guy.

This article was updated at 2:48 p.m. (ET) on Oct. 15. 

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