Currently, numerous return and special cargo flights are taking place. Our A340 and Boeing 777 aircraft are used for these flights. These flights are very challenging for the entire SWISS organization. On one hand, there is an enormous need for coordination and planning, and on the other hand, our crews need to be highly flexible, not least because of the regulations imposed by local authorities. SWISS Technics, and in particular our Maintenance Department, faces also some challenges.
You will look in vain for the destinations served by SWISS and Edelweiss in our regular flight plan: Douala (Cameroon), Quito (Ecuador), Auckland (New Zealand), Lima (Peru), Rangoon (Myanmar) or Kigali (Rwanda) – to name just a few. To be able to operate these flights, smooth collaboration between many team colleagues within SWISS, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (EDA) and the local authorities is essential.
The engineer for all purposes
But flexible solutions are also needed for these destinations in terms of technical maintenance. Especially when there are limited or no local opportunities for cooperation with local partners. In these cases, our FSE fly along. FSE stands for “Flying Station Engineer”. Their task is to carry out the technically necessary work on the aircraft at the destination so that it can take off for the return or onward flight in airworthiness condition. This requires a great deal of experience and specialist knowledge, as the FSE bears the sole technical responsibility for the aircraft on site.
The FSE carries out minor maintenance and repair work on site, if necessary, and releases the aircraft for onward flight after the technical check of the airworthiness (“release to service”).
On board: spare tyres, oil and wrench
Maintenance work also requires the appropriate material and spare parts, the so-called “flight kit”. Depending on the destination, aircraft type and local infrastructure, up to two containers of material (equivalent to approx. 1.5 tons) are loaded. This includes, for example, spare wheels, special tools, spare and consumable parts (e.g. oil) and other material required for minor repair work.