Alitalia recently announced that its maintenance department had completed a C-check on one of Air Senegal’s two Airbus A330neo aircraft. As it happened, this procedure took place just before the plane set a record for the longest non-stop A330neo flight.
The maintenance procedure
The Italian flag carrier took to Twitter two days ago to share the story of its recent maintenance co-operation with Air Senegal. RadarBox.com reports that the Senegalese flag carrier, which was the first African airline to operate the A330neo, flew the aircraft from Paris to Rome on April 25th this year. Its registration is 9H-SZN, and its name is Casamance.
Data from ch-aviation.com shows that Air Senegal has this aircraft on a long-term lease from Hi Fly Malta. This explains its Maltese ‘9H’ registration prefix. C-checks are extensive maintenance procedures that can take two weeks, and take place every 20-24 months. They involve rigorous inspections of many of the plane’s components. Alitalia confirmed that:
“Alitalia Engineering & Maintenance, the only European MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) to have obtained certification for the execution of maintenance checks on the A330neo, completed a C-check on an Air Senegal aircraft on May 12th.”
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Straight back into service
Following the completion of the C-check on May 12th, 9H-SZN wasted no time getting back into service. On that very day, it flew for just over 10 hours to China’s Beijing Capital Airport. This was the precursor to its record-breaking return flight two days later. Specifically, May 14th saw the aircraft return to Blaise Diagne International Airport directly from Beijing.
The purpose of this journey was to transport a batch of Sinopharm vaccines back to the country. However, as Air Senegal expressed in a statement surrounding the flight, it also provided an opportunity for it to “emphasize the technical prowess of this type of aircraft.” This resulted in 9H-SZN setting a record for the longest flight to date operated by an A330neo.
Increasing presence in Italy
As it happens, Air Senegal’s maintenance trip to Italy isn’t the only instance of the carrier having a presence there. Indeed, the airline also operates scheduled services from Dakar to Milan Malpensa. At present, it flies this route three times a week.
However, the flights have proven a useful money-spinner, with high bookings prompting it to add more. Indeed, Air Senegal announced at the end of last month that it would be upping its Dakar-Milan service frequency from three to five times a week. It confirmed that:
“A new 4th weekly service will be operated on Sundays effective June 20th, whilst the 5th one shall begin on Thursday, July 1st. All five weekly flights will be exclusively operated by the Airbus A321 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, offering 16 business and 149 economy class seats.”
What do you make of this maintenance partnership between Alitalia and Air Senegal? have you ever flown on one of the Senegalese flag carrier’s two Airbus A330neos? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.