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Air Baltic calm over additional A220 engine inspections

Air Baltic, the second-largest European operator of Airbus A220s, is following guidelines on engine checks in the wake of a series of failures which affected the Swiss A220 fleet.

But the Latvian carrier points out that it uses "a different variant" of the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G engine "in contrast" to the aircraft operated by Swiss.

Air Baltic has 20 A220-300s and was the first to receive the variant – then known as the Bombardier CS300 – in November 2016.

The airline had experienced its own grounding in October 2017 when it suspended operations with the fleet – then comprising seven aircraft – to carry out engine checks.

It stated at the time that the inspections related to an "external engine accessory" and that, as a launch operator of the CS300, it had expected to undertake upgrades during the early period of operations.

Air Baltic says it is "closely following" the engine manufacturer's latest recommendations on additional inspections to "ensure the continued reliability" of its flight operations

"While taking all the necessary precautions, Air Baltic continues to operate its Airbus A220-300 fleet," it states. "Safety is Air Baltic's top priority."

Pratt & Whitney says it has been "working in co-ordination with airlines" to support visual borescope inspections of the low-pressure compressor's stage-one rotor, after Swiss suffered a third A220-300 engine failure incident in three months.

The manufacturer states that the engines continue to meet all criteria for continued airworthiness, and that it is working with customers to minimise operational disruption.

Air Baltic originally ordered 20 CS300s, and the final aircraft of this batch was received in September this year.

But the carrier increased its commitment to the type last year, with an agreement to take a further 30, and the first two of these are due to be delivered before the end of 2019.

US carrier Delta Air Lines is the second-largest A220 operator overall, with 25 of the type, although it currently only has the smaller -100 variant. It received its first in October last year.

Delta has 95 A220s on order comprising 45 A220-100s and 50 A220-300s.

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