Three engine shutdown incidents in 15 days in A-320 Neo aircraft
Mumbai: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday ordered the immediate grounding of 11 Airbus A-320 New Engine Option (Neo) aircraft, that were found to be fitted with a faulty type of Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines.
The move came after an in-flight shutdown of one engine of an Indigo A-320 Neo upon take-off. The aircraft was travelling from Ahmedabad to Lucknow. The incident was reported to the regulator on Monday. This is the third such instance of mid-air engine shutdown involving the A-320 Neo in the last fortnight. Prior to this, similar incidents involving a GoAir flight in Leh on February 24 and an Indigo flight in Mumbai on March 5 were reported. While Indigo has eight such aircraft, GoAir has three.
The DGCA also asked both airlines to not refit these engines (PW1100 engines beyond serial number 450) which are part of their inventory as spares). It said it was in touch with stakeholders and would review the situation in due course, when the issue is addressed by European regulator EASA and P&W.
On February 9, EASA had issued an emergency airworthiness directive for A-320 Neo planes fitted with PW1100 engines having a particular serial number. The directive followed instances of the engines shutdown during flights and rejected take-offs involving the A320 Neo aircraft.
In a statement, a spokesperson for P&W said, “We are working closely with our customers to minimise the disruption. The corrective action has been approved and we have already begun to deliver production engines with the upgraded configuration. We are working to mitigate the AOG situation by the end of the second quarter.”
A GoAir spokesperson said they have received the DGCA directive for immediate grounding of all late serial number PW GTF engines. “We have complied immediately. We are altering flight schedules and communicating the same to those affected by the last-minute changes and are making all possible arrangements to minimise the impact,” a GoAir spokesperson said.
Indigo said it was in receipt of the DGCA communication and would promptly comply with the same. “Upon implementation of the directive, IndiGo shall have a total of nine A-320 Neo aircraft on ground. Affected passengers would be accommodated on other flights on our network,” a spokesperson said.
IndiGo has had to replace P&W engines on 32 of its A-320 Neo aircraft at least 69 times between May 2016 and November 2017.
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus currently offers two engine choices for its Airbus A320 Neos : P&W Pure Power PW1100G-JM and the CFM LEAP-1A engines of CFM. In India, Pratt & Whitney has supplied its PW1100G engines to commercial airlines, including IndiGo and GoAir. IndiGo and GoAir have ordered hundreds of A-320 Neos with P&W engines and are taking up the issue with the manufacturer and Airbus. Vistara and Air India A-320 neos have CFM engines.