SWISS fleet fully reunites after Airbus A320 returns from COVID storage

SWISS HB-IJO Airbus A320
Kambui / Creative Commons

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) has welcomed back its last aircraft that was placed in long-term storage in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Airbus A320-200, registered HB-IJO, flew back from Amman in Jordan, where it was once held with 24 other SWISS aircraft, to Zurick on December 17, 2023.

According to SWISS, the newly arrived aircraft was held in storage for 1,180 days, but on December 19, 2023, the jet finally returned to passenger service, departing from Zurich to Berlin at 8:12 am local time.

Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, like many airlines, SWISS was forced to reduce the size of its fleet as demand for flights plummeted.

The carrier chose to store 25 of its aircraft in Jordan due to its hot and arid climate which helps protect the planes against any rusting of their metal components.

In the Jordanian desert, under the leadership of SWISS’s own technical specialists and in collaboration with the local maintenance, repair and overhaul provider, all the aircraft stored were subjected to regular inspections of their installed equipment.

“We are delighted to welcome the last of our Jordan-stored aircraft back to our flight operations and return our working fleet to full size,” SWISS Head of Technical Fleet Management Claus Bauer, said. “Our specialists have made huge efforts over the last few months to ensure that every one of our stored aircraft was brought back to Zurich in faultless technical condition. It’s been a massive undertaking for everybody involved in which every detail counts.”

HB-IJO was built in 1997 and is one of SWISS’s longest-serving aircraft, having been operated by the company since its foundation.

The twinjet seats 180 passengers and has performed some 63,596 flight hours and 45,042 takeoff/landing cycles in its more than 26 years of airline service.

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