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Third Swiss A220 failure spurs urgent engine checks

Swiss has cancelled dozens of Airbus A220 services in order to conduct technical inspections on the fleet, following a third incident involving an engine failure in as many months.

All three incidents have involved A220-300s operating services between Geneva and London Heathrow.

While the previous events – in July and September – had involved aircraft departing Geneva, the latest on 15 October occurred to a return service from London, which had to divert to Paris Charles de Gaulle where it landed about 1h after take-off.

French investigation authority BEA describes the incident as "serious".

All three incident have affected different airframes. The latest twinjet to suffer, HB-JCC, was delivered to the Swiss carrier in August 2017.

The previous incidents – to HB-JCM on 25 July and HB-JCA on 16 September – were linked to failures of the low-pressure compressor rotor on the Pratt & Whitney PW1500G powerplant.

Operators of A220s were subsequently ordered to conduct repetitive checks of the compressor rotor and inlet guide vane of engines with fewer than 300 cycles. The inspections were also extended to Embraer E2-family jets, because their PW1900G engines have a similar design.

But in the aftermath of the Paris diversion, Swiss has taken immediate action to inspect several A220s, withdrawing them temporarily from service.

"As a result, many flights will be cancelled," the carrier states.

Swiss says the cancellations affect 15-16 October services out of Geneva and Zurich to such destinations as Bucharest, Berlin, Milan, Paris, Lisbon, Munich, Frankfurt, London, Warsaw and Birmingham.

"Only following a faultless inspection will these aircraft be returned to regular flight duties," the airline adds. "This will put substantial restrictions on Swiss's flight operations."

Swiss states that it is taking the incidents "very seriously", adding that it is participating in "close dialogue" with Airbus, Pratt & Whitney, and regulatory authorities.

"Safety of our customers and our crews is our paramount priority. We will do everything we can to return the operation of our [A220] fleet to normal as soon as possible and continue to ensure safe flight operations."

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