The aviation regulator Friday told IndiGo to replace the Pratt and Whitney (PW) engines under both wings of 97 A320neo aircraft “at all costs” by January 31 or they would be grounded, reported PTI. The incidents have caused “serious concern” and the decision to order the engines be replaced was taken after “considerable deliberations,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement.
23, out of the 97 aircraft, have PW engines that have been used for more than 2,900 hours and have to be replaced in the first tranche by November 19, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) told the low-cost carrier.
The DGCA had, on Monday, asked IndiGo to replace the PW engines of 16 A320neo planes, which were used for over 2,900 hours, by November 12, but it subsequently found out that seven more aircraft were flying with such engines.
“Kindly note that after that (November 19), none of these 23 aircraft, which does not have at least one LPT (low-pressure turbine) modified engine on its wings, shall be allowed for commercial operation and their schedule will suitably be curtailed till this is accomplished,” the regulator said in a press note on Friday.
Meanwhile, responding to the DGCA statement, IndiGo said, “DGCA had issued a directive last week as per which we are required to have at least one LPT 3 modified engine on aircraft which has one unmodified engine more than 2900 hours by November 19, 2019. We are confident that we are able to meet this directive and are able to sustain our current schedule. Subsequently, we have received the latest directive from the DGCA on November 01, 2019, which requires that all operating A320 NEO should have both engines with LPT3 modification installed for operation post 31st Jan 2020. IndiGo currently operates on its fleet of 98 A320 NEO family with around 45% of its engines modified. We are working with both P&W and Airbus on mitigation so that we have enough modified spare engines by January 31, 2020. In the meantime, our schedule remains intact.”
On Tuesday, IndiGo had announced that it would buy 300 “Airbus 320neo family” planes, which comprised A320neo, A321neo and A321XLR aircraft. However, the budget carrier made it clear that the choice of engine manufacturer for this order would be made at a later date.
On Wednesday, one of the PW engines of an IndiGo A320neo plane that was heading from Kolkata to Pune stalled mid-air, forcing the pilot to return to the Kolkata airport.
On three consecutive days from October 24 to 26, IndiGo had three in-flight PW engine shutdowns, compelling the DGCA to visit the airline’s premises on Monday to review the maintenance and safety data.
(With inputs from PTI)
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