Breaking: Swiss Grounds Entire Airbus A220 Fleet Amid Engine Concerns

SWISS has grounded its entire fleet of Airbus A220 aircraft following a new incident that occurred earlier today. As a result, every flight due to be operated today by a SWISS Airbus A220 has been canceled. SWISS’s Airbus A220 engines are provided by Pratt And Whitney.

SWISS, Airbus A220 Fleet, Grounded
SWISS has grounded its Airbus A220 fleet. Photo: SWISS

Earlier today, SWISS encountered another Airbus A220 issue. As a result, the whole fleet has been grounded until checks on the aircraft’s engines are completed. Additionally, the French BEA today reported that two previous incidents on both the 25th of July 2019 and
the 16th of September 2019 were “identical”. A representative of SWISS told Simple Flying that the grounding of the SWISS Airbus A220 fleet started at midday today.

Largest Airbus A220 fleet

SWISS operates the world’s largest fleet of Airbus A220 aircraft. The Lufthansa Group airline has received a total of 29 of the aircraft so far. The grounding affects both the -100 and -300 aircraft in operation by the airline. The airline operates 9 -100s and 20 -300s.

Swiss, Airbus A220 Fleet, Airbus A220 Grounded
SWISS is the largest Airbus A220 operator at present. Photo: SWISS

Multiple incidents

There have now been multiple incidents involving SWISS’ Pratt and Whitney Airbus A220 engines. In fact, in July one of the aircraft diverted to Paris after flames were reportedly observed originating from the engine. The French BEA asked the public for help to find parts that may have fallen from the aircraft at the time. However, according to the Av Herald: “So far, no parts of the engine of HB-JCM have been recovered.”

As such, the BEA will thoroughly search the suspected landing area of the part between the 6th and 8th of November at the request of the NTSB. The NTSB is looking for “a piece of titanium of about 70cm in diameter” which may have broken into several pieces.

However, in addition to the July incident, a month ago on September 16th another incident occurred which the BEA has described as identical.

Swiss, Airbus A220 Fleet, Airbus A220 Grounded
The aircraft type sustained an uncontained engine failure in July. Photo: Eric Salard via Wikimedia

SWISS statement

Following the latest update this morning, Simple Flying contacted SWISS for comment regarding the possible grounding. A spokesperson for the airline said:

“In view of the further incident with a C Series / Airbus A220 engine, SWISS has decided to conduct engine inspections for its entire C Series / A220 fleet. This means that all SWISS C Series / A220 aircraft will undergo an extensive examination from midday today (15.10) onwards. Only following a faultless inspection will these aircraft be returned to regular flight duties. This will put substantial restrictions on SWISS’s flight operations, as numerous flights will have to be cancelled.”

Meanwhile, when contacted, an Airbus spokesperson told Simple Flying,

Airbus is aware of the incident that happened earlier today, October 15th with a SWISS aircraft. We sincerely regret this impediment for our customer and its passengers. Together with the engine manufacturer we are supporting our customer to minimize disruption to their operations. Airbus is providing its full support to the authorities, as incidents are under NTSB investigation (and in accordance with Annex 13 to the ICAO convention).

Flight cancellations

As a result of the airline grounding its Airbus A220 fleet, SWISS has had to cancel a significant number of flights. As such, the airline told us,

“They [affected passengers] will also be rebooked at SWISS’s expense onto the best possible alternative. Passengers with bookings for any of these canceled flights may also rebook free of charge or have their ticket price refunded.”

Have you been affected by SWISS grounding the Airbus A220? Do you think grounding the fleet was the right thing to do? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!