Air Transport World

Swissair contemplates future fleet needs.

Zurich--Swissair is following propfan developments closely with the possibility in mind that an airliner so powered could replace its MD-80s by the middle 1990s, according to executives of the airline speaking here. But Swissair, well-known for its pioneering of new civil aircraft types, is approaching the development with caution, and the belief is being expressed that propfans might bring more benefits on long-haul rather than short/medium-haul machines.

The view was summed up here by Armin Kramer, Swissair general manager-planning, who commented, "An airplane powered by propfans could bring considerable advantages in fuel consumption, but how this will translate into operating costs we cannot know because we do not know what fuel prices will be in the 1990s, and whether these engines will create higher maintenance costs. You have a propeller which is more complicated, with variable pitch and reverse thrust, and you would expect these complications to lead to more maintenance costs. …

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