Budget airline IndiGo today said it has grounded five A320 neo aircraft due to Pratt & Whitney engine issues and these planes are expected to be back in operations in the second half of August. The carrier, the country’s largest in terms of domestic market share, has grounded the planes at the international airport in the national capital. It could not be immediately ascertained whether flight schedules were affected due to IndiGo taking out five planes from the services.
A senior official at aviation regulator DGCA told PTI that it did not direct grounding of the planes and that the move was “routine maintenance issues within the airline”.
An IndiGo spokesperson said that “a few A320 neos have been taken out of service pro-actively and await spare engines from Pratt & Whitney”. When contacted, the spokesperson confirmed that five A320 neo (new engine option) aircraft have been grounded.
An official said all the five aircraft were grounded this month. P&W engine woes had forced the airline to ground some of the A320 neo aircraft on earlier occasions also.
“The release of additional spare engines has been initiated by P&W so that all aircraft are expected to be back in service in the second half of August,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
The spokesperson did not mention whether flight services have been disrupted due to the grounding of five planes.
In a statement, P&W said it is engine removals are being planned and coordinated with the airlines as it continue to successfully retrofit the fleet with the latest configuration engines. “Some aircraft will be out of service temporarily as they perform these removals. Spare engines are now becoming available, with the objective to support aircraft availability in August and onward,” the statement said.
On an average, one aircraft is used for operating around 8 to 9 flights. IndiGo operates around 1,000 flights every day. Shares of InterGlobe Aviation, parent of IndiGo, fell nearly two per cent to close at Rs 1,023.10 on the BSE.
A320 neos powered by P&W engines — which are flown by IndiGo and GoAir in India — have been facing glitches that had even led to mid-air engine shutdowns in the past. IndiGo started inducting A320 neos in March 2016 and since then, there have been intermittent problems with P&W engines.
There was no immediate statement from P&W about IndiGo grounding five aircraft.
Following P&W engine problems, aircraft maker Airbus, earlier this year, had put on hold deliveries of A320 neo planes having such engines. The delivery resumed in May. Since then, IndiGo has inducted as many as seven such aircraft.
Currently, IndiGo has a fleet of more than 170 aircraft, including 40 A320 neo planes. During February and March this year, 14 planes — 11 of IndiGo and three of GoAir — were taken out of operations due to P&W engine issues on the directions of the aviation regulator after a series of mid air shut downs were reported by the two carriers.
In the 2017 June quarter, IndiGo grounded nine A320 neo planes due to engine issues. The grounding had also resulted in the airline cancelling 84 flights on a particular day last year.