Air Baltic A220 Flight Diverts After Latest PW1500G Shutdown

 - February 12, 2020, 12:13 PM
An Air Baltic A220-300 aircraft diverted to Bordeaux after one of its PW1500G engines had to be shut down on a flight from Riga to Malaga. [Photo: Airbus]

An Airbus A220-300 operated by Air Baltic today diverted to Bordeaux, France, after the captain shut down the left engine. Flight BT677 was en route from the Latvian capital Riga to Malaga in Spain.

French accident investigation agency BEA said that its team arrived in Bordeaux within a few hours of the diversion. Air Baltic said that it had dispatched a ferry flight to carry passengers on to Malaga.

The event is the latest incident involving the A220's Pratt & Whitney PW1500G turbofans. In October 2019, Swiss temporarily grounded its 29-strong fleet of A220-300s and -100s after experiencing three engine shutdowns over four months. In the first two years of operating its 20 A220-300s, Air Baltic said that it had had to replace 50 engines due to various problems. 

The first two incidents with the Swiss aircraft involved the failure of the engine’s first rotating low-pressure compressor (LPC) stage. Following the two incidents, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive on September 25, 2019, requiring repetitive inspections, beginning within 50 flight cycles, of the LPC Stage 1 rotors and inlet guide vanes in all in-service PW1500G and PW1900G engines with less than 300 flight cycles since new. Following the third incident, Pratt & Whitney recommended additional inspections of the LPCs for both engines. 

The 100- to 150-seat A220 family was developed by Bombardier as the C Series program. Airbus said that it was aware of the incident and issued the following statement: "We are in contact with our customer and Pratt & Whitney. Together with the engine manufacturer we are supporting our customer to minimize the disruption to their operations."

Pratt & Whitney said that, "together with Airbus, we are working with our customer to provide assistance as required."