airBaltic Replaced 50 Airbus A220 Engines In The Space Of 2 Years

airBaltic operates a fleet of 20 Airbus A220-300 aircraft. In the first two years of the aircraft’s operation, the airline replaced 50 engines. Having just 13 aircraft in that period means that almost every engine was replaced twice on average.

airBaltic, Airbus A220, Engine Replacement
airBaltic performed 50 Airbus A220 engine changes in the first two years of operating the type. Photo: airBaltic

Yesterday, SWISS grounded its entire fleet of Airbus A220 aircraft pending detailed engine checks. The flag carrier of Switzerland encountered a third serious engine issue in the space of four months. As a result, the carrier decided that none of its A220 aircraft were to fly until detailed checks had been undertaken. While this led to a number of flight cancellations, the first A220s have already been checked and re-entered service.

Other A220 operators

Although SWISS has the largest fleet of A220 aircraft it isn’t the only operator of the type. In fact, Delta Air Lines, Korean Air, and airBaltic also have significant fleets. Respectively these operators fly 25, 10, and 20 of the aircraft each. While this is the Airbus A220-100 for Delta, the other two airlines operate the larger A220-300 variant.

airBaltic, Airbus A220, Engine Replacement
The Latvian flag carrier currently operates 20 Airbus A220-300 aircraft. Photo: airBaltic

50 engine replacements

Every now and again engine replacements are necessary on any aircraft, however, airBaltic has carried out 50 engine replacements for the A220 in the first two years of the type’s operation. The airline was the launch operator of what was then the Bombardier CS300. While its first aircraft was delivered in November 2016, the airline’s 20th aircraft was delivered less than a month ago.

The news was first revealed by Aviation Analyst Alex Macheras last night:

What airBaltic says

What makes this even more interesting is the timeframe attached to these engines. airBaltic’s COO, Martin Sedlacky, told Simple Flying:

“airBaltic can confirm that during the first two introduction years of Airbus A220-300 operations the airline had conducted 50 engine replacements due to different reasons, including planned and scheduled replacements.”

Mr Sedlacky went on to add: “airBaltic’s top priority is safety, and the new Airbus A220-300
aircraft introduction plan had predicted additional attention and upgrades during the initial
stages of exploitation.”

airBaltic, Airbus A220, Engine Replacement
The airline was the launch operator of the Airbus A220-300. Photo: airBaltic

The maths

Now, according to airBaltic, the airline’s 14th Airbus A220 was delivered two years after the first aircraft. As the engine replacements occurred within the first two years of A220 operations, the engine replacements would have taken place across 13 Airbus A220 aircraft.

As the Airbus A220 has two engines, a fleet of 13 aircraft would make up a total of 26 engines. As such, if 50 engine replacements were required, every aircraft would have had each of its engines changed around twice in the space of two years.

What is more likely is that some of the older aircraft would have had more engine changes, and some of the newer aircraft would have had fewer engine changes as they hadn’t all been flying for the same period of time. However, to have an average of two changes per engine during the first two years does seem surprising.

What do you make of this rate of replacement? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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Vitor

That’s awesome!

Trent

If this was a Dreamliner the story would be titled: [X Airline] replaces 50 engines on unreliable Boeing aircraft in two years”.

I’m half joking.

Raspy

There are reasons for that…

Donald

Seems to be growing pains with the engine manufacturer sorting out the bugs on a new design. And being the launch customer, they are doing just that sending back field units back to the manufacturer for design tweaks?

Nate Dogg

Let’s see an American engine manufacturer take some flak now the same as the yanks have been giving Rolls Royce constant derision over the Trent 1000. The total number of grounded Dreamliners is about 50. Looks like the A220 issue is going to be about 4 times the number. All those anti-UK Yankee fanboys are going to be doing some agonising now aren’t they??

Murray Henly

Another indication that the P&W GTF was a “lemon”, and might still be one. It was not ready when put into service. It’s bad for the C Series/A220 and other aircraft using it, but the GTF’s problems should be viewed separately from other intrinsic qualities of the C Series/A220.

MiG

How can you write an article about engine problems without even once saying what engines are failing? Is this an intentional misdirection to blame Bombardier / Airbus instead of Pratt and Whitney?

André

Some of that stuff has to be expected by a launch operator. This is why we do not hear Air Baltic complaining about this. Paying less for a first class product involves that type of collaboration and some inconveniencies. As long as it does not put the safety of passengers and crews in jeopardy, it is fine with me.

john

Sounds like P&W did a lousy job on this engine as it is specific to the A220. Influenced by Boeing?

Ken Lyns

No doubt some of the engine changes are for planned rework and upgrades. Launch customer quirks.

SY gunson

TONGUE IN CHEEK THEY COULD RE-ENGINE BOTH THE 737 MAX & A-220 WITH Aviadvigatel PD-14 engines which have been used as the PS-90A now for 28 years on the IL-76, IL-96 & Tu-204 with no reliability problems

PD-14 offers similar thrust within similar engine dimensions. Aviadvigatel PD-14 could replace the LEAPS 1B engines quite easily on the 737 Max.

POLITICALLY Washington wouldn’t allow it, but pragmatically BOEING may have no other choice. Otherwise, most of these Maxs May aswell GET SCRAPPED