Latvian flag carrier airBaltic (AS Air Baltic Corporation), which is based at Riga International Airport and of operates flights all over Europe, said that it had to perform fifty engine replacements in the first 2 years after adding Airbus A220-300 aircraft to its fleet.
The airline said the replacements occurred due to “different reasons, including planned and scheduled replacements,” as the introduction plan of the new aircraft required “additional attention and upgrades during the initial stages of exploitation.”
Airbus A220-300 jets, previously known as Bombardier CSeries, were introduced to airBaltic in December 2016 and it added the 14th plane of the model at the end of 2018. Each aircraft is equipped with two Pratt & Whitney engines. Thus, if the carrier operated 13 aircraft at that time, it means that the company had to conduct almost two changes per engine on every aircraft.
The surprising number of engine replacements was initially reported by aviation analyst Alex Macheras shortly after the flag carrier of Switzerland, Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS), decided to temporarily ground all its Airbus A220 jets. The company said it encountered an “incident” with the plane’s engine and wanted to conduct engine inspections and an extensive examination of the entire A220 fleet before returning it to service.
Shortly after the incident, engine producer Pratt & Whitney recommended additional fleet-wide checks for the PW1500G, the type of engine that powers the Airbus A220, as well as for PW1900G engines, “to keep the fleet operational.”
On Thursday, SWISS put all of its A220s back into service and resumed flights on a regular basis. Other primary users of the A220s did not reveal any plans to ground their own fleets.
AirBaltic currently operates 20 Airbus A220-300 aircraft, and also uses Boeing 737-300, 737-500, and Bombardier DHQ400 for its flights, but aims to have a fleet of all Airbus jets.