Surinam Airways Seeks To Return Its Leased Boeing 777

Surinam Airways has a leased Boeing 777-200ER that it wants to return to Boeing early. The aircraft, relatively new to the airline’s fleet, is proving expensive as it undergoes heavy maintenance, leading it to be a costly and unnecessary aircraft for now. The airline is currently leasing a plane to fly its flagship widebody services.

Surinam Airways 777
Surinam Airways is looking to return its leased Boeing 777. Photo: jounigripen via Flickr

Surinam Airways wants to return its leased Boeing 777

Luchtvaart Nieuws reports on an internal newsletter that highlights the issues with the Boeing 777. According to the memo, the aircraft has been in technical maintenance and has not currently been flying.

Given the issue, the aircraft appears to require an expensive repair, which may include an engine replacement. This can be a pricey and complicated affair, which the airline does not seem keen on taking on right now.

Per the memo, that maintenance repair is why the airline wants to return the Boeing 777 early. If all goes well, the Boeing 777 could be returned as soon as next week. However, things are currently not yet finalized.

What is Surinam Airways using instead of the Boeing 777?

Surinam Airways used the Boeing 777 to operate flights between Suriname’s capital and the Netherlands. The flight runs between Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport (PBM) and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS).

Air Belgium A340
Surinam Airways has leased an Airbus A340 from Air Belgium to run the flights. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

This is a vital long-haul route for Surinam Airways, so it has kept serving the route with a leased Airbus A340. That aircraft is being leased from Air Belgium currently.

Surinam Airways’ leased Boeing 777

The registration of the aircraft is PZ-TCU. This aircraft formerly flew for Singapore Airlines, according to data from Planespotters.net. After the aircraft was retired from Singapore Airlines, it briefly spent some time at Air New Zealand before finding its way over to Surinam Airways.

When Surinam Airways got the jet, it ran into issues about having ETOPS certification on the aircraft. Without ETOPS, Surinam Airways had to lease an Airbus A340 to continue running flights to Amsterdam. Surinam Airways was finally able to resolve that issue and finally started flights using the Boeing 777-200ER in late 2020.

According to data from RadarBox, the aircraft made its last flight on February 7th and has been parked in Amsterdam since then. The first flight with the Boeing 777 between Amsterdam and Suriname did not happen until December 18th, with paying customers onboard.

What will Surinam Airways do next?

Surinam Airways has a fleet of two Boeing 737-700s in addition to the 777-200ER. Given that the 737s cannot make the hop, this leaves Surinam Airways without a plane that can fly between Paramaribo and Amsterdam.

The short-term solution could be to continue leasing the Air Belgium A340s, but that also comes with a cost. Before taking on the Boeing 777, Surinam Airways actually flew an Airbus A340 between Suriname and the Netherlands.

Surinam Airways A340
Surinam Airways used to fly an Airbus A340 on the route. Photo: Alf van Beem via Wikimedia Commons

One option could be for Surinam Airways to try and find another Boeing 777. Some airlines have retired older Boeing 777 jets, so there could be a few out there that the airline could get for cheap.

The final option could be to approach KLM for a codeshare on the route, which would let Surinam Airways get away with not flying any of its own jets on the route.

For now, Surinam Airways appears content with flying a leased Airbus A340 on this route until it can figure something out. All else fails, the airline could go back to an Airbus A340, though that may not be an ideal option.

Are you sad to see Surinam Airways look to return its leased Boeing 777-200ER? What do you think the airline should do next? Let us know in the comments!

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