Faced with multiple problems with the existing Airbus A220s, Air Senegal plans to replace them with the new Embraer E195-E2s.
The failed delivery of two Airbus A220-300 aircraft in December last year and the breakdown of one aircraft in November — technical problems with Pratt & Whitney 1500G prompted the Senegalese air carrier to change manufacturers. The airline wants to buy Embraer E195-E2 aircraft, although they use similar Pratt & Whitney (PW).
Last year, Air Senegal revealed plans to acquire five Airbus A220-300s under a lease agreement with AirFinance's Macquarie division. The airline announced a deal involving eight A220s that were due to be delivered by the end of 2023. However, after receiving the first few orders, Air Senegal refuses to honor the agreement.
The problems faced by Air Senegal have disrupted its day-to-day operations. In January, the carrier carried out scheduled maintenance on two of its A321-200s and one ATR72, planning to use the A220 on routes previously flown by aircraft under maintenance. The airline even reduced the number of flights on each route in order to maintain its network.
According to the management of Senegalese, the frequent unavailability of this type of aircraft for flights and the December delays in the delivery of two aircraft caused a number of problems.
To replenish the fleet, the airline is now choosing a different type of aircraft. However, not everything is as simple as it seems, because the most preferred E195-E2s use similar Pratt & Whitney (PW). Many airlines operating aircraft types with PW engines are experiencing problems, including unscheduled technical interventions.
Air Senegal initially chose the A220-300 because it gave it autonomous flights of at least six hours. It was planned to fly it on African routes and to Barcelona. The A220 was also due to start flights to Milan Malpensa Airport (MXP) in January. However, engine problems have forced the airline to reconsider its choice, and it is possible that other airlines will follow suit.
This week, IndiGo and fellow Indian carrier Go First announced that they will land more than 50 aircraft equipped with Pratt engines & Whitney. The airline operates a fleet of Airbus A320neos and A321s, and has shut down 39 aircraft since February 26.
Last month, Hawaiian Airlines was forced to land two Airbus A321s due to unforeseen engine maintenance issues. One of the aircraft was delivered to the airline in May 2019 and has been parked at Auckland International Airport since November 21. The other aircraft has been flying since the end of December and both are powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1000.
Problems with PW engines have affected airlines with small fleets the most. The limited ability to replace damaged aircraft with other types has created problems affecting flight schedules, route network and overall turnaround time.