Swiss has agreed to wet-lease six Airbus A220 aircraft from airBaltic for winter 2022, which it says will bring more stability to flight schedules and ease pressure on cabin crew.
“airBaltic is an ideal wet-lease partner for us,” said SWISS chief commercial officer Tamur Goudarzi Pour. “Like us, they operate the highly advanced, innovative and ecofriendly Airbus A220-300. And they have already performed flights for other airlines of the Lufthansa Group this summer with impressive reliability,” the CCO said, referencing air Baltic’s wet lease deal with Eurowings.
Swiss, which has 21 A220 aircraft as part of its fleet, said the wet-lease deal would also bring more reliability for customers. Many travelers in Europe have had their flights canceled in summer 2022 due to a shortage of staff at airlines and airports.
While the wet lease contract will help relieve “the present pressures on our cabin crew corps,” Swiss said it still aims to recruit and train more cabin personnel.
The news comes days after airBaltic announced that six Airbus A220s have been grounded for some time due to a lack of spare parts.
“Currently, global supply chain issues are forcing six of our aircraft to remain on the ground because we are missing spare parts for regular maintenance work,” CEO at airBaltic, Martin Gauss explained. Some of the grounded aircraft have been out of action for six months, which he described as “very uncommon”.
Like other airlines, airBaltic does less flying in the winter, so wet leasing aircraft to other carriers can help keep planes in the air and bring in revenue, especially with the Ukraine and Russian markets remaining closed to the airline.
Having a fleet of 36 Airbus A220-300 aircraft, airBaltic remains the world’s largest operator of the type. By 2024, the airline expects to have a total of 50 A220-300s.