DGCA asked to file report on A320neo engine snags
Govt’s direction comes amid reports that airlines had grounded more A320neo jets
Mumbai: Civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday directed civil aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), to submit a report on the grounding of Airbus A320neo (new engine option) over glitches in the engine.
The security of passengers is of paramount importance and at no cost should this be compromised, said the minister.
Prabhu’s direction to DGCA comes a day after Mint reported that the country’s largest domestic carrier by marketshare, IndiGo, had grounded as many as nine Airbus A320neo aircraft as of 20 August because of non-availability of spare engines from American aerospace manufacturers Pratt & Whitney. The report quoted a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
Budget airline GoAir, which is controlled by the Wadia Group, has also grounded three Airbus A320neo aircraft because of the same reason , a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Mint on Friday.
Two of them are expected to be inducted back into operations in the next 10-14 days, the person said.
A GoAir spokesperson did not comment on the matter.
A Pratt & Whitney spokesperson said on Friday the company is working closely with all its A320neo operators, including IndiGo and GoAir, to keep their aircraft flying while continuing to retrofit the fleet with the latest engine configuration.
“Engine removals are being planned and coordinated with the airlines as we continue to successfully retrofit the fleet with the latest configuration engines. Some aircraft will be out of service temporarily as they perform these removals,” the spokesperson said.
“All new Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines now include the latest seal and combustor upgrades,” it said.
IndiGo, which did not reveal the number of aircraft it has grounded due to non-availability of spare engines, had earlier told Mint that Pratt & Whitney has initiated the release of additional spare engines and that all aircraft can be expected to be back in service soon.
On Friday, DGCA said there are 60 A320neos with Pratt & Whitney engines among Indian airlines, including 41 with IndiGo and 19 with GoAir.
DGCA had in March grounded 11 Airbus A320neo planes, including three belonging to GoAir and eight to IndiGo.
The Mumbai-based airline has since grounded a few of its aircraft proactively.
As many as nine aircraft—seven belonging to IndiGo and two to GoAir—were grounded (as of 20 August) because of Pratt & Whitney engine glitches, DGCA said.
“These groundings are because of combustor distress found during routine scheduled boroscope inspection. These are all Block B combustors. As and when combustor distress is found beyond laid down limits, the aircraft is removed from service for engine replacement,” DGCA said.
“These engines are being continuously monitored and safety issues are addressed adequately,” DGCA said.
As of 24 August, seven aircraft belonging to IndiGo and three to GoAir had been grounded because of engine issues, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
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