Stranded Swiss Airlines 777 Gets Replacement Engine Delivery in Canada

Feb 6, 2017

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A Boeing 777-300ER belonging to Swiss International Airlines stuck in northern Canada could soon be flying home, after an engine shutdown forced the aircraft into an emergency landing. A spokesperson for the airline confirmed to The Points Guy that technical crews are working on replacing the malfunctioning engine at Iqaluit Airport in the province of Nunavut.

Swiss Flight 40, carrying 216 passengers and 17 crew members from Zurich to Los Angeles, was forced to make the emergency landing at Iqaluit Airport (YFB) on February 1 after a malfunction message caused the automatic shutdown of the aircraft’s left engine. Another aircraft was dispatched to transport the passengers to JFK Airport in New York, before continuing on to Los Angeles. The passengers were stuck at YFB for approximately four hours.

Iqaluit Airport (YFB) is located near the Arctic Circle. Image courtesy of Google Maps.

“The [replacement] aircraft… took off again for New York at 5:00 a.m. local time, and arrived at JFK at 8:45 a.m. local time,” Stefan Vasic, spokesperson for Swiss, told TPG. “The passengers have been — in accordance with their individual needs — either rebooked to continue their air journey from New York to their original destination or accommodated in a hotel in New York.”

In order to return the airframe to working condition, the airline shipped a replacement General Electric GE90 engine to YFB, along with representatives from engine manufacturer GE. Estimates place the cost of the engine alone at over $27 million before the labor replacement fees. The engine arrived on February 4 aboard an Antonov AN-124 freight aircraft.

Due to a lack of maintenance facilities at the airport, the individual engine is currently being housed in a tent, surrounded by portable heaters. The airline confirmed in a statement to TPG replacement work was under way, but could not provide a timeline for the aircraft’s return to the flag carrier’s main hub in Zurich.

The engine is being housed in a temporary tent hangar, as engineers from GE and Swiss work to replace the malfunctioning engine. Image courtesy of BonzBrooks via Twitter.

Although GE has delivered over 2,000 GE90s without incident, the engine does have a limited history of trouble. In 2015, a GE90 engine caught fire on a British Airways 777 in Las Vegas, leading to speculation that additional engine inspections could be coming for the 777-exclusive power plant.

Featured image courtesy of Markus Eigenheer via Flickr.

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