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Swissair grounds A330s to check engines

The Airbus A330's are a key part of Swissair's fleet


Swissair and its Belgian affiliate, Sabena, have grounded some of their Airbus A330 aircraft after the European manufacturer told carriers to check for faults with their engines.

The Swiss carrier cancelled several long-haul flights after French authorities grounded various production series of the Airbus A330 plane powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.

Swissair has a fleet of 15 such planes and announced late on Friday that it had suspended service with 11 of them. The remaining four were not affected.

In Brussels, Sabena grounded six of its 10 A330's following a statement on Friday by Airbus Industrie, that 82 of the 171 A330 planes in operation around the world, were fitted with engines made by Pratt & Whitney that could cause trouble.

However, Toulouse-based Airbus said not all aircraft would be affected by the problem, which involves cracks in mounting nuts that secure the engines to the wing.

"We have urged all A330 operators to do an immediate inspection to see if they have a problem and to replace those mounting nuts if required," said Mark Sullivan, a spokesman for Pratt, a unit of United Technologies.

He added: "We don't believe it's a widespread problem, but we're very cautious in these things."

The consortium said that A330's powered by other engine makes were not involved. In 1997, other A330's had to be grounded because of a fault with their Rolls-Royce engines.

swissinfo with agencies

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