Swiss installs fire protection system in Avro RJ cargo holds

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Swiss International Air Lines will install fire detection and suppression equipment in the cargo compartments of its 20-strong BAE Systems Avro RJ fleet.

While the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have mandated operators of the type to modify their aircraft, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has not yet issued a respective directive.

The cargo compartments of standard Avro RJs are not fitted with smoke detectors and fire suppression systems, and thus categorised as class D. Class C comprises both safety systems while the intermediate class E includes only smoke sensors.

Swiss contracted BAE Systems to supply the class C equipment, which will be installed in both cargo bays of the aircraft.

This will involve fitting fire sensors and piping "from the nose to the tail", says the UK manufacturer. In the cockpit, new control switches will be installed in the overhead panel and the crew alert displays will be changed.

The modification kits include fire bottles by Kidde Graviner, control panels by GSS Avionics, piping by Eaton Aerospace and brackets by Gardner Aerospace.

Swiss will gradually install the equipment, starting in November. Base maintenance for the aircraft is provided at Lufthansa Technik Switzerland in Basel.