The Centre on Wednesday said the DGCA adopted a “proactive” approach in grounding the 11 aircraft of Indigo and GoAir and no other aviation regulator in the world would have taken the step.
All the grounded flights would not be allowed to fly till the faulty engines are replaced, Minister of State for Civil Aviation Jayant Sinha said as he sought to allay the collective apprehensions of passengers about flying safe. He said that they had already figured out 17 engines which would be prone to shutdown during the course of carrying out regular monitoring and detailed analysis of all the 1,000 engines currently in operation in the country.
“We even asked airline to use only one of these identified engines in the aircraft as a precautionary step. However, after the incident on March 12 when an Indigo flight had to return to Ahmedabad because of engine failure, we decided to ground all such engines,” he said at an event in New Delhi. “No other aviation regulator in the world would have taken such a proactive step we have adopted,” Sinha asserted. He said those 17 engines cannot be fitted in any other aircraft and will not be used till they are 200 per cent safe.
Domestic carriers IndiGo and GoAir cancelled around 50 flights on the third day today as almost one-third of their A320 Neo aircraft fleet remained grounded following a safety directive by aviation watchdog DGCA.
On March 12, the DGCA said that A320 neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect as it cited safety of aircraft operations. Both IndiGo and GoAir have been told not to refit these engines, which are spare with them in their inventory.
Meanwhile, European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has said that the DGCA’s move to ground A320 neo aircraft with a particular series of Pratt & Whitney engines was a “unilateral decision”. “The grounding of the Indigo and Go Air A320 neo with one PW1100 engine is a unilateral decision from DGCA India. EASA has not been involved in this decision,” EASA said in an e-mailed statement to PTI.