Zurich Airport-Based SWISS is getting ready to take delivery of its 30th Airbus A220. The aircraft is an A220-300 version configured to carry 145 passengers. Built at the European planemaker’s Mirabel plant near Montreal, Canada, SWISS has not said when it will take delivery, but it could come within the next couple of weeks, given all the excitement.
SWISS took delivery of its first Airbus A220 in 2016 and placed it on flights between Zurich Airport (ZRH) and Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG). After the first month of operations, the feedback from passengers convinced SWISS that they were on to a winner. Five years later, Swiss is preparing to welcome the 30th A220 to its fleet of 91 aircraft.
How the delivery takes place
Once a SWISS technical team consisting of an acceptance pilot and engineers make sure that everything is in order, a transfer team in Zurich flies over to Canada to bring the new plane home. In a SWISS blog, airline pilot Tina Schwabe talks about her experience bringing home the airline’s ninth A220 in 2017.
✈️We are soon expecting the arrival of our 30th @Airbus A220 at home in Zurich✈️ To mark this occasion, we asked SWISS pilot Tina Schwabe how it feels to fly such a modern aircraft, what its special features are and how an aircraft delivery process works: https://t.co/ZyorTLTiDm pic.twitter.com/tgrDU6Qp18
— Swiss Intl Air Lines (@FlySWISS) May 21, 2021
When asked about how they fly the plane over the Atlantic Ocean, Tina explained that because the aircraft only has an Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards (ETOPS) rating of 180 minutes, it must always have an airport to land within range.
Because of this, SWISS flies its new short-haul A220 jets from Montréal-Mirabel International Airport (YMX) over northern Canada, Greenland, Iceland, and Scotland before reaching central Europe. Tina says that the flight is even more special thanks to the stunning views over Greenland and Iceland.
What happens when the A220 arrives in Zurich
When asked what happens when the plane arrives home in Zurich, Tina said that it is met by the airport fire brigade and given a water cannon salute before being parked in front of the hangar.
Now in Switzerland, the aircraft has to be cleared by customs and handed back to SWISS. Once the formalities are completed, the aircraft is ready to enter service.
Why did SWISS want the A220?
Given Switzerland’s central European location and the fact that cities like Zurich and Geneva are significant financial and business hubs, SWISS wanted an aircraft with a long-range and a good cargo capacity. The A220 has all of these attributes that allow it to operate short-haul European routes while also flying as far as Marrakech, Cairo, and Tel Aviv.
Stay informed: Sign up for our daily and weekly aviation news digests.
Because of its agility, the A220-100, a more petite 125 seat version of the aircraft that SWISS is expecting, can land at London City Airport (LCY), where a very steep approach into a narrow runway is required.
When asked about her favorites experiences flying the Airbus A220 for the last four years, Tina said:
“There are so many wonderful memories and flights that it is difficult for me to choose, but the delivery flight is certainly the highlight. The landing training, the first real landing on the aircraft in real life instead of in the simulator, is also always present. Other great experiences include approaches to idyllic destinations such as Sylt or the Greek islands or a winter approach to Kittilä/Finland on a snow-covered runway. I also have many pleasant and interesting memories of London City Airport.”
Have you ever flown on a SWISS Airbus A220? If so, we would love to read about what you thought of the aircraft in the comments.