IndiGo’s woes with A320 neo aircraft engines is impacting operations at the Delhi aerodrome with “extra time” taken by these planes to taxi out result in congestion, especially during peak hours, according to airport and ATC sources.
The A320 neo planes, powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, have been facing problems even forcing the no-frills airline to ground some of those aircraft. Besides IndiGo, budget carrier GoAir also has these aircraft running on P&W engines.
Sources at the airport and ATC (Air Traffic Control) here said the issue of A320 neo planes taking longer time to start up and taxi out has been flagged to the airline and stakeholders concerned.
Queries sent to IndiGo spokesperson remained unanswered while DIAL spokesperson could not be contacted.
The issue was discussed during the Airside Safety Committee Meeting of the airport in July.
A source quoting the minutes of the July meeting said DIAL informed that due to engine issues IndiGo’s A320 neo planes were taking “extra time” for taxiing after getting push back from the parking area and at times, these aircraft also cause block on the taxiways.
On account of this delay, the airport traffic gets congested as the arriving flights have to wait for their parking bay till the particular A320 neo planes moves out, they added.
With IndiGo operating a good number of A320 neos, a few minutes delay in each of the departure has a cascading impact on flight operations from the airport, sources said.
The Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA), operated by a GMR group-led consortium, is the busiest in the country and handled 57.7 million passengers in 2016-17.
IndiGo is the country’s largest domestic carrier and a significant number of flights that are operated out of the airport here.
On an average, there are around 1,200 flight movements at the airport here every day.
There are about 67 flight movements per hour and it goes up to 72 during peak hours.
InterGlobe Aviation-run IndiGo had grounded nine A320 neo (new engine option) planes due to issues P&W engines in June quarter and few more were grounded later. This had also resulted in a large number of flights getting cancelled.
As of now, IndiGo has grounded at least seven of the 23 A320 neos operated by it.
IndiGo President Aditya Ghosh had during the post-Q1 earnings call on July 31 said that “regrettably, there have been days when we have had to ground as many as nine A320 neos due to lack of spare engines. While we do receive certain compensation from Pratt and Whitney for these groundings, the operational disruptions are quite challenging and we are not happy with that situation.”
To cater to the rising traffic, DIAL has announced plans to expand the passenger handling capacity of two operational terminals, recommission operations at terminal-2 and build a new runway by 2021.
At present, there are three runways — 11/29, 10/28 and 9/27.
As per the master plan, capacity of T1 will be increased from 20 million to 40 million and the capacity of T3 will be increased from 34 million to 45 million.