Three Indigo-operated A320neo planes grounded after Airbus engine issue


"We are honoured by the continuing confidence that SWISS has placed in Pratt & Whitney and in the GTF engine", said Chris Calio, President, Commercial Engines, Pratt & Whitney.

A total of 113 A320neo family aircraft delivered to 18 airlines, are equipped with these P&W engines, while the CFM LEAP-1A powered A320neo's continue to operate.

In brief, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued, as usual, an emergency airworthiness directive in which it explains that "several engine stops in flight as well as takeoff interruptions have been reported".

A senior official of Indigo confirmed receiving the recommendations by Pratt & Whitney as well as EASA with respect to the A320neo aircrafts powered by PW1100G-JM engines.

Since entering service in January 2016, Pratt says these engines have more than 500,000 hours of passenger service, and demonstrated its promised ability to reduce fuel burn by 16 percent to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 50 percent to the regulatory standard, and to lower the noise footprint by 75 percent. It is in the midst of increasing output and last week said it may speed up further.

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In the past three decades, technological advances have made engine failures a rare occurrence, with only about 25 (in multi-engine aircraft) a year worldwide, or one engine failure for every million flights.

The restrictions cover jets with two engines from the same affected batch - effectively grounding those jets. However, if one engine fails, a twin engine aircraft like an A320 can safely land with the other operative engine. Airbus has issued an Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) providing instructions "to de-pair the affected engines and discontinue [ETOPS] for aircraft fitted with affected engines", according to EASA.

The DGCA official said IndiGo has three such aircraft, which have been grounded. "SWISS was the first airline to fly the GTF-powered Bombardier C Series aircraft", said Peter Wojahn, Head of Technical Fleet Management, SWISS.

"We have identified the potentially affected engines and communicated with our customers", the Pratt spokesperson said. Pratt spent billions to develop the new geared engines and some issues are common, but that has meant severe headaches for Airbus and its airline customers.