Air Senegal would have decided to cancel the leasing contract with the lessor Macquarie AirFinance to operate five A220-300s, according to Italia Vola.
The carrier had signed the deal in November 2021, but only one jet was delivered. Another two planes were expected at the end of last year, however, they ended up not being delivered.
espite the recognized advantages of the A220, Air Senegal ended up suffering from an issue that has been common, the unavailability of jets equipped with the Pratt & Whitney GTF engine.
The PW1000 turbofan is one of the reasons for the aircraft’s fuel economy, but it has repeatedly experienced problems with systems and components.
Pratt & Whitney claims to have resolved the issues, however, it is facing difficulties in making modifications to aircraft that use the GTF such as the A220, A320neo and Embraer’s E2 jets.
Air Senegal planned the A220-300 on routes on the African continent, but also on flights to Europe, thanks to its great range.
According to the director of the company, Eric Iba Gueye, Air Senegal is looking for another aircraft to replace the A220, but the direct competitor, the E195-E2, is also experiencing the same difficulty, in addition to not offering the same autonomy as the competitor.
KLM Cityhopper, for example, owns a large fleet of the model, but had to ground several E2s in January for failing to carry out the upgrade promised by Pratt & Whitney.
Air Senegal is a traditional Airbus customer, so there are few options. One of them would be the leasing of A320neo with Leap 1-A engines, from CFM, which do not face the same difficulty, however, it is a larger aircraft and would require a greater demand.
The A220-300 that flew with the company only carried 133 passengers in two classes, when it can be configured with around 150 seats.
There are, however, carriers that managed to circumvent the restrictions of the GTF engine, with the Azul Linhas Aereas.
Owner of a fleet of 15 E195-E2s, the airline keeps all of them operational, thanks to a planning strategy that allowed them to receive updates in advance.