In what was the third incident with its Airbus A320neo aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G engines in two days, low-cost carrier IndiGo witnessed fuel leak on one of the power plants on a plane. However, the airline said that the problem did not pertain to the ongoing concerns with the geared turbofan engines.
According to monthly air traffic data released by the DGCA on Monday, during the month of February alone, 37,964 IndiGo passengers were affected due to flight cancellations, compared with 55,838 passengers affected due to flight cancellations in the 13-month period ended January 2018. As per the information released by the aviation regulator, reasons for flight cancellations include technical causes, weather, commercial, operational and miscellaneous. On an aggregate basis for all airlines, 55.4 per cent of the flights cancelled in February were due to technical reasons.
“An A320neo aircraft that operated from Mumbai to Jammu, during maintenatnce checks was detected with leakage from #1 engine. This is a technical snag and it is being rectified,” IndiGo said in a statement.
The aircraft was grounded at Jammu, and later in the evening flew back to Delhi. On Sunday, the airline witnessed problems develop on two aircraft, of which one was withdrawn from service. Of these, one witnessed metal chips in the left engine, while the other aircraft was withdrawn from service due to a hydraulic leak on its right engine.
IndiGo already has 11 of its A320neos grounded after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked the airline to pull them out of operations due to a completely new set of issues with the engines. These engines are also being used by Wadia Group-owned airline GoAir and grounding of these planes has caused the two carriers to cancel hundreds of their flights.
The issue with Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G model has been a persisting one with the first set of performance issues arising early last year that led to grounding of a number of aircraft operated by IndiGo and GoAir. Last year’s issues pertained to premature degradation of one of the carbon seals and the combustion chamber of the engines. The latest set of issues was discovered after Pratt & Whitney introduced a modification to the engine causing its knife-edge seal in the high-pressure compression chamber to break at higher temperatures, something it was built to withstand. Currently, the two airlines have 45 Airbus A320neo aircraft between them – 32 with IndiGo and 13 with GoAir.