A few days ago I wrote about how Surinam Airways was going to get rid of its 777. There’s an update on this front as the plane is currently en route to Victorville.
Suriname Airways’ 777 saga up to this point
Surinam Airways is a small national airline based in Paramaribo, Suriname. The airline has operated a single long haul route between Paramaribo and Amsterdam in the past (given the connections between the two locations).
The airline has also tried servicing a single long-haul aircraft, which has not been a problem for many years. From 2004 to 2009 the airline had a 747-300 while the airline had an A340-300 from 2010 to 2019.
Which brings us to the saga of the last few years when the airline tried to replace its A340:
- In mid-2019 it was announced that Surinam Airways will replace its single A340 with a used Boeing 777-200ER that had previously flown for Singapore Airlines
- This decision was a controversial move and even had the then head of Surinam Airways suspended, as he apparently made this decision without consulting the board
- Surinam Airways took over this aircraft in early 2020, although the airline didn’t operate a single passenger flight with it for almost a year and instead used a wet-leased Air Belgium A340-300 for the route
What went wrong? As it turned out, Surinam Airways lacked ETOPS certification for the 777. This meant the plane had to make a major detour when flying between Paramaribo and Amsterdam as the plane had to stop within 60 minutes of diversion points (which was not the Case is) not possible if you are flying over the middle of the Atlantic.
The problem had nothing to do with the aircraft as such, but with the company’s pilots having to spend some time flying in 777 simulators. The problem was the airline didn’t have 777 simulators and couldn’t find flight simulators for their pilots due to coronavirus travel restrictions.
Surinam Airways gets rid of 777
Surinam Airways’ ETOPS issue was resolved in late 2020. From December 18, 2020, the airline regularly flew between Paramaribo and Amsterdam with the 18-year-old 777 with the registration code PZ-TCU.
Unfortunately, it only took a few weeks until the service came to a standstill on February 7, 2021 after the plane landed in Amsterdam. The plane has been parked there since then (well, until today). So what happened Well, technical issues, including issues with one of the engines.
A few days ago we learned that Surinam Airways wanted to get rid of its brand new (used) 777. The airline stated that repairs would be expensive, so the airline wanted to return the aircraft to Boeing (the 777 is direct from the leased aircraft manufacturer). According to an internal memo:
The technical maintenance has shown that in the worst case a large cost factor for the repair has to be considered and possibly even one of the motors has to be replaced.
This fact has led the management and other stakeholders of Surinam Airways to make the decision to take advantage of the early return of the B777 to Boeing.
Some things were discussed with Boeing yesterday and Surinam Airways awaits further discussions about handling or possible other options. The aim is, in agreement with Boeing, to fly the aircraft to a location to be determined by Boeing within the next week.
Once things are final we will share this with you. In the meantime, the route in the mid-Atlantic is operated by Air Belgium.
I’m about as skilled at graphic design as Surinam Airways (what kind of airplane is that ?!)
Well, there is now an update on that – Surinam Airways ‘777 is currently en route from Amsterdam to Victorville, California, where the aircraft will exit Surinam Airways’ fleet. We don’t know the terms of this agreement, but somehow the airline managed to dispose of the plane pretty quickly.
For the time being, Surinam Airways’ service will continue to be operated by a wet-leased Air Belgium A340-300.
Air Belgium is again operating Surinam Airways’ flight
In early 2020, Surinam Airways received a used 777 to be used for the flagship of the airline Paramaribo to Amsterdam. Unfortunately, ETOPS issues resulted in the airline being unable to fly the aircraft for many months. Then, a few weeks into the start of service, there was a costly technical problem that has grounded the aircraft for the past few weeks.
Surinam Airways appears to have succeeded in returning this 777 to Boeing as the aircraft is currently en route to Victorville. This seems like a situation where Suriname Airways should just give up the pride in operating this route and instead go codeshare with KLM, as it operates about as well as so many other national airlines out there. But who knows what will actually happen …
I’m excited to see what Surinam Airways is doing next with its long haul fleet and where this 777 is going (maybe Eastern will acquire it?).
What do you think of Surinam Airways’ 777 situation?