Uh Oh: SWISS Grounds A220 Fleet Due To Engine Issues

Filed Under: Swiss

SWISS has today grounded their fleet of Airbus A220s (formerly known as the Bombardier C Series). This is due to issues with the Pratt & Whitney engines on these planes.

SWISS is the world’s largest operator of the A220, as they have a total of 29 of these planes in their fleet (including nine A220-100s and 20 A220-300s). The airline has a total of 89 planes in their fleet, so this represents nearly a third of their planes.

The decision to ground the A220s comes after a flight from London to Geneva diverted to Paris today after an engine shut down as the plane reached cruising altitude.

The airline has had at least eight similar issues happen in the past year on this aircraft type, which is way too many for what is ultimately a relatively small fleet.

So the airline will be grounding the planes to carry out engine inspections. It’s my understanding that the hope is to have these planes flying again within a day or two. This shouldn’t be like the 737 MAX grounding, or anything.

It’s also worth noting that the A220 is able to fly on one engine, so in and of itself these shut downs haven’t been “dangerous.” Then again, when you have incidents like this happen as often as they do, it becomes more of an issue. If there were a flight where both engines shut down at once, that could of course be catastrophic.

SWISS is being rather cryptic about this situation. All that their website says is the following:

The ongoing technical inspections of several aircraft will restrict our flight operations. As a result many flights will be cancelled.

They do provide some more details on Twitter, though:

As of the time of this post, 36 flights have been canceled for today. If you’re scheduled to fly SWISS on a short haul flight in the next few days you’ll want to check your flight status, since this represents a large portion of their regional fleet.

I’ll be curious to see how long it takes them to get the A220 back in the sky, and also to see whether other airlines follow SWISS’ lead in grounding their A220s. One has to wonder if the “problem” here is something that can even easily be identified with an engine inspection, or if this is a more complicated problem than that.

Comments
  1. The airlines are demanding so much more from these next generation power plants.

    Rolls on the 787, GE on the 777X, Pratt on the neo and 220.

    I’m still more comfortable with an engine out than a battery fire or a frame extended beyond its max…

  2. Now I hope TPG will get off their knee’s with this damn plane. It’s like Delta pays them to mention it’s SuPeRiOr CoMfOrT in every post.

  3. I flew from Brussels to Zurich a few months ago on the A220 on Swiss. Rebooked last minute when my original flight from Munich to Zurich (also on he A220) was canceled about 48 hrs before the flight. Swiss didn’t give a reason but probably had something to do with this. Very nice plane though.

  4. Flying CDG-ZRH-ATH on October 20 and looking forward to EC 261/04.
    LX and I are long term “friends” on the issue of EC 261 and they are very bad losers… but they infaillingly lose 🙂

  5. So Delta doesn’t proactively ground them yet. Either it’s a no big deal and Swiss is overreacting or this is just like 737MAX, keep flying till FAA says no regardless of risk.

  6. They return back into the European skies once they are checked – which for some aircraft has taken place this afternoon, but restricted with flying no higher than 28‘000 feet.

  7. Even though you may believe that flying on one engine isn’t “dangerous,” I’d prefer the not dangerous state of having both engines working. Could this be a mini-MAX event in the making?

  8. @eskimo, I am not thinking 737max is an overreacting issue actually, at least I am hesitating to fly on it after at least looking through some of the info why that things happened. From going on, I would try to avoid it no matter they fix this “software” issue or not.

  9. There have been many flights that have had both engines shut down in flight (to restart)….reported on this site. SQ A330 a couple of years ago, a few UA 777s. DL too. I want to say 2 flights I know of did not restart and it was not “catastrophic”. Air Canada’s “Gimli Glider” incident. A 767 ran out of fuel. Landed safely, ZERO deaths. The plane flew for another 20-30 years.

    Air Transat ran out of fuel over the Atlantic Ocean and was able to land 30 mins later in the Azores.

  10. @Roberto i’ve flown this plane type and it is actually pretty comfortable. i don’t agree with a lot of TPG journalism practices BUT these planes are comfortable.

  11. Ok I’m sorry, but TPG does (for once) have a point about these planes. Flew EWR-DTW in economy connecting to A359 to PEK. The A220 was more comfortable, the screen more responsive, the legroom was amazing (I’m 6’2). And this was after two long haul TK flights. I applaud delta for actually investing in comfort.

  12. Those of us Canadian taxpayers who paid through the nose to get this aircraft flying only to see BBD give it to the Bus people always maintained that the C in C Series stood for crap. I was also never a fan of the GTF as having worked with turboprops one of the bigger maintenance problems was the gearbox. Yes engine failures should be capable of letting the aircraft continue flying but uncontained engine failures can hit all sorts of other things like the fuselage and the control runs. Note to Bus: you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

  13. I think it is interesting that in the official tweet the plane was referred to as “the C Series” and not an Airbus A220.

  14. I still prefer flying on a C Series than on a A32x for comfort and general feel on regional flights. I’m based in Geneva so I fly on those all the time and yes, Swiss still refers to it as C Series and not A220 on their website and all their communication. It was quite chaotic in GVA yesterday but I’m sure the aircrafts will be put back in service little by little over the coming days.

  15. Just flew GVA-DUB on one, delighted they sorted it so quickly, beautiful plane to fly.

    Talking to a few passengers beforehand, not one realised that the flight was so close to being cancelled.

  16. @Lucky
    Maybe it’s time to update the situation. It’s only fair to clear their name. (and you get to sneak another post in)

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