Tuesday, 15 August 2017

A fond farewell - Bye Bye Avro RJ's

Swiss said a fond farewell on Tuesday to a stalwart of their fleet that had served them well for many years - the Avro RJ

Yes, for the last time a Swiss International Air Lines Avro RJ100 flew a commercial flight, departing from Geneva and heading the relatively short distance to Zurich.  

Immediately after landing in Zurich, the aircraft HB-IYZ received the traditional water fountain farewell salute by the airport fire brigade before being officially taken out of service to loud applause from a crowd of employees and aviation fans. 

The special flight markling the end of operations carried a mix of media professionals, staff and other guests and was an emotional experience for many onboard, including those on the flight deck. “Making this final landing at our home airport aboard an Avro was a very emotional experience for me! The taking out of service of the Avro aircraft marks the end of an era in the history of aviation in Switzerland” says Michael Weisser, Captain and Avro fleet chief, who performed the flight from Geneva to Zurich with his deputy fleet chief Captain Peter Huber.

The Avro RJ100 and its smaller sister the RJ85 had formed the backbone of the Swiss European fleet since the company was founded in 2002. The remarkable and easily recognisable aircraft have completed over 700,000 hours in the air. During that time Swiss has made over half a million flights with the 21 of  British Aerospace (BAe) aircraft they operated.

The retirement of the Avro's is just part of an existing and rapid fleet renewal programme the airline is undertaking. It is hoped that by the end of 2018, another 20 Bombardier C Series aircraft will join the existing fleet of 10 currently deployed on our short and medium-haul routes - including most recently to London City Airport.  On the long-haul routes, two further Boeing 777-300ERs will replace part of the older  four engined Airbus A340 fleet by spring 2018. 

However, whilst it is sad news for plane-spotters, airport workers and aviation enthusiasts, thanks to the excellent maintenance quality, build and performance, these wonderful aircraft at not being scrapped. Despite their age, all of the former Swiss aircraft will be going into service with other airlines.

Photos from Swiss

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