New Delhi: InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, which operates India’s biggest budget airline IndiGo, said it is looking to convert some of its Airbus A320neo planes to A321neos that will allow it to fly more passengers per flight and increase flight range.
IndiGo which has about 400 A320neo planes on order is adding about two planes a month to its fleet of 129.
The planes were leading to fuel savings of 15%, IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh said on the sidelines of the opening of Airbus training facility in the capital on Friday.
The A320neo accommodates as many as 189 passengers, while the A321neo carries as many as 240 passengers, allowing the airline to replace some of its existing slots on congested airports like Mumbai and Delhi.
Ghosh also said the airline may look at all engine options for the next set of engine orders for its A320neo planes. The airline currently has Pratt & Whitney engines which have been mired in technical issues.
The airline’s chief financial officer, Rohit Philip, said there was no financial impact yet from the grounding of Airbus A320 NEO planes following issues that arose with the Pratt and Whitney engines fitted on them but declined to comment on whether the airline would seek compensation for the engine issues, according to Reuters.
The new engine has been throwing up challenges including start-up issues and erroneous technical messages to the pilot since last year when some of the planes were inducted after a long delay.
“There are certain issues with combustor chamber lining as a result of which we are not getting the engine life that we would have expected,” Ghosh said in January on an analyst call, adding, “There is a redesign that Pratt is implementing to fix this. It has also talked about an issue with the oil seal that have seen some failures. Pratt is working on it.”
Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked IndiGo and GoAir that use this engine to increase surveillance of these planes, besides specifying other restrictions.
The airline expects to end fiscal year 2017 with a fleet of 133 planes and may induct more in the next fiscal year than initially expected, it has said.
IndiGo has a 40% share of the domestic market. It operates 883 daily flights connecting 42 destinations.
IndiGo shares were up 3.01% to touch Rs918.20 apiece at the Bombay Stock Exchange on Friday, while the benchmark Sensex index was up 0.24% at 29,656.22 points.