For some four months, KLM Cityhopper managed to work around aircraft shortages caused by the unavailability of a fair number of Embraer E195-E2s. But as repairs of the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan-powered aircraft take longer than anticipated, Cityhopper has now announced that it is forced to make “minor adjustments” to its summer peak schedule. GTF woes are hurting KLM Cityhopper’s summer schedule.
For those who have been flying in and out of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport from Aalsmeerbaan or Kaagbaan, they must have seen fleets of grounded E2s. Some with engines, others without.
KLM Cityhopper has been operating the E195-E2 since February 2021 and has grown the (leased) fleet to fifteen aircraft since then. But like other operators of the P&W GTF engines, durability has been low and has required getting the engines off the wing much sooner than planned. The problem manifested itself during 2022, but by early 2023, up to eight E2s could be spotted at Schiphol as their powerplants were in the MRO shops.
Today, seven aircraft are out of service. The oldest E2 in the fleet with registration PH-NXA as well as NXK have been grounded since December 19, NXM even since December 18. NXJ is grounded since April 5, NXI since April 7, NXN since May 6, and NXL since May 7.
CEO visits Embraer
During the monthly webcast for KLM employees on Wednesday, Chief Operating Officer Maarten Stienen said that CEO Marjan Rintel had been off to Brazil to discuss the issues with Embraer. CEO Francisco Gomes Neto must have told her the same as what he said in March during the FY22 results presentation: Pratt and Whitney are working closely to support affected customers like KLM Cityhopper with short-term solutions while working on a long-term fix of the issues.
P&W said in April that a fix of all the issues will take a few more years until at least 2025. Not only for the PW1700G and PW1900G on the E2-jets, but also the PW1100G-JM on the Airbus A320neo family and the PW1500G-JM on the Airbus A220. GTF issues have brought Indian airline Go First to the brink of collapse as it filed for bankruptcy protection which was granted on May 10.
Helvetic’s first Embraer E190-E2 has been grounded since March 19. (Richard Schuurman)
Cityhopper has seventeen E170s and thirty E190s with General Electric CF34 engines that usually operate without issues and is flying them at the maximum now. The airline has also wet-leased in Embraers from German Airways, but in the last months, only two aircraft were available from the little airline. This will increase to five over the coming months out of the eight the airline has in the fleet.
Hence the announcement (of warning) that flight schedules could be affected over the next two months as E2-issues persist. It has also renewed leases on E1s that had already been returned to the lessors to make up for the shortfall in capacity.
Other E2-operators in Europe seem to be less affected. Swiss carrier Helvetic operates a fleet of eight E190-E2s and four E195-E2s but currently has only one E190-E2 out of service. It is the first E2 in the fleet with registration HB-AZA which is grounded since March 19. Norwegian regional carrier Wideroe is operating all its three E190-E2s, as is Binter Canarias with its five E195-E2s.
Outside Europe, Brazil’s Azul has three out of sixteen E195-E2 on the ground, one since April 24, another since April 28, and a third since May 10. Air Astana has grounded one of its five E190-E2s since December 13. Nigerian airline Air Peace has all five E195-E2 in active service, just like the latest operator of the type, Porter Airways. The airline has taken delivery of nine aircraft since late December out of fifty on firm order.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.