Swiss carrier Chair Airlines is set to undergo a minor fleet renewal by replacing an aircraft that was written off during maintenance. An Airbus A320 will take the place of the terminally damaged A319, which bore the registration HB-JOH. The new aircraft will be the largest Airbus plane in Chair’s fleet, with space for 180 passengers onboard.
A quick recap
Let’s start by taking a look at why exactly Chair Airlines needs to draft in the Airbus A320 in question. The story began last July, when a Chair A319 registered as HB-JOH received terminal damage in Naples, Italy. The plane had been undergoing maintenance there when it reportedly suffered an impact with a hangar door. This forced it to be written off.
According to data from ch-aviation.com, HB-JOH was one of just three A319s at the airline. However, the industry-wide downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic meant that replacing the stricken aircraft wasn’t an immediate priority.
As such, it was only recently that Chair required the capacity of a third aircraft, with European air travel beginning to show signs of a summer recovery. Its short-term solution was to lease a 189-seat Boeing 737-800 from Polish carrier Enter Air. However, according to aeroTELEGRAPH, the Swiss airline is now implementing a longer-term fix.
Replaced with a larger aircraft
With demand now on the up once again, Chair is reportedly set to replace the damaged A319 with its larger counterpart, the A320. This will help boost the airline’s capacity, with aeroTELEGRAPH reporting that the incoming twinjet will seat 180 passengers. This represents a 20% increase compared to the 150 seats on Chair’s existing A319s.
Chair is set to take delivery of this aircraft in November 2021. In the meantime, the Swiss carrier will paint the A320 in its livery and refurbish its cabin to bring the plane in line with its existing fleet. Chair will reportedly deploy the aircraft on charters to Kosovo and North Macedonia, which it operates on behalf of virtual airline Air Prishtina.
The airline announced in a statement yesterday that, depending on how the situation develops, 2022 may see the “acquisition of a further A320.” The registration of the incoming A320 is as yet unknown. However, a spokesperson confirmed to Simple Flying that “details of the aircraft will be announced by the airline once they have taken delivery of it.”
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Chair Airlines in a nutshell
Chair Airlines has been operating under its current identity since July 2019. It began life as Germania Flug, which was a leisure and charter carrier formed in 2014 as a co-operation between Germania and Swiss tour operator Hotelplan.
It briefly did so under the short-lived HolidayJet brand. Today, Chair primarily flies from Swiss airports, such as its Zürich base, to Mediterranean holiday destinations in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The airline has a dynamic approach, and states:
“Thanks to our close cooperation with the Swiss travel industry‚ tourist boards and agencies in the destinations‚ we always have our finger on the pulse‚ can react quickly to changes, and are thus able to continuously expand our network.”
What do you make of this replacement? Have you ever flown with Chair Airlines? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments.