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New Pratt engine checks after Swiss A220 diverts to Paris

Stock MarketsOct 15, 2019 01:11PM ET
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PARIS/VIENNA (Reuters) - Pratt & Whitney (N:UTX) recommended checks on engines on Airbus (PA:AIR) A220 aircraft and some Embraer (SA:EMBR3) jets after a Geneva-bound Swiss jet diverted to Paris with an engine problem, prompting the grounding of the rest of the airline's A220 fleet.

French air accident investigators classified the problem that disrupted the Swiss flight shortly after departure from London Heathrow as a "serious incident" and said it would be investigated by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

Swiss, owned by Germany's Lufthansa (DE:LHAG), said it had grounded its fleet of 29 Airbus A220 jets for a review of their engines.

"Only after a comprehensive inspection will the aircraft return to regular flight operations," it said in a statement, adding "numerous flights" would have to be canceled.

The diversion was the latest in a series of technical glitches involving new-generation Geared Turbofan engines from Pratt & Whitney, part of United Technologies (N:UTX).

A spokesman for the engine maker said it was recommending additional fleet-wide checks for versions of the engine that power the Airbus A220 - an engine known as the PW1500G - and the upgraded Embraer 190/195-E2.

A similar engine for the larger A320neo family, Airbus's most-sold aircraft, was not affected.

"Pratt & Whitney and our airframe OEMs (manufacturers), working in coordination with the regulatory authorities, have recommended additional inspections of the low-pressure compressor for PW1500G and PW1900G engines to keep the fleet operational," a spokesman said.

"The engines continue to meet all criteria for continued airworthiness. We are working closely with our customers to minimize disruption to their operations."

The spokesman did not say when the recommendation had been made or what deadline existed for the checks.

Delta Air Lines (N:DAL) said its A220 jets were flying as normal.

Airbus said it was aware of Tuesday's incident involving the aircraft operated by Swiss and that it was working with Pratt & Whitney.

Airbus has delivered a total of 90 of the 110-130-seat A220 in operation, having bought the program from Canada's Bombardier last year.

Embraer did not respond to a request for comment.

The Brazilian company uses Pratt's PW1900G engine in larger versions of its upgraded 80-120-seat E2 jets.

It has delivered six E190-E2 planes split between Norwegian carrier Wideroe and lessor Aercap (N:AER), and one E195-E2, which is not yet in commercial service but has been delivered to Brazilian airline Azul SA.

New Pratt engine checks after Swiss A220 diverts to Paris
 

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