P&W engine issue: DGCA says it will take harshest action, if need arises2 min read . Updated: 28 Aug 2019, 07:30 PM IST
- DGCA's statement comes soon after the regulator called for an urgent meeting with officials of no-frill carriers IndiGo and GoAir
- In the past few months, IndiGo and GoAir, which operate P&W-powered Airbus A320 Neo planes, faced several glitches, often leading to temporary groundings
NEW DELHI : Any knee-jerk reaction to completely shut down Pratt & Whitney (P&W) powered Airbus A320 Neo operations will have serious consequences as about 40% of domestic capacity is served by these aircraft-type, Indian civil aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement on Wednesday.
DGCA's statement comes soon after the regulator called for an urgent meeting with officials of no-frill carriers IndiGo and GoAir on Wednesday in the wake of several glitches faced by P&W engines that power Airbus A320 Neo planes operated by these airlines.
"It is true that there have been cases of Air Turn Back, In Flight Shut down or Engine vibrations beyond the prescribed limits, but with strong mitigation measures in place and strict adherence to SOPs (standard operating procedure) by the airlines, the problem is being contained," DGCA said in the statement adding that the regulator will continue to ground aircraft and seek engine change whenever P&W engine glitches are detected on A320 Neo aircraft.
DGCA also added that it will take the harshest action, should the need arise.
In the past few months, IndiGo and GoAir, which operate P&W-powered Airbus A320 Neo planes, faced several glitches, often leading to temporary groundings.
According to a source, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, there has been over 30 engine incidents and snags with IndiGo and GoAir-operated Airbus A320 Neo planes powered by P&W engines, during this calendar year.
Mint couldn't independently verify this figure.
Spokespersons of IndiGo, GoAir and Pratt & Whitney were not immediately available for comments.
In its statement, DGCA said that major issues that rose following the induction of P&W engine powered A320 Neo aircraft included 'combustion chamber distress (Block B and Block C)', 'N2 transient vibration', 'Low Pressure Turbine (LPT) failure', 'gear box failure' and '#3 Bearing Pre Mod and Post Mod failures'.
While the issues related to Combustion Chamber Distress, No.3 Bearing Seal failures and High Pressure Compressor (HPC) Rear Knife Edge seal failures have been addressed by taking suitable mitigation measures,DGCA said adding that the manufacturer is in the process of implementing mitigation actions in respect to gear box failure, low pressure turbine (LPT) failure and engine vibrations.
DGCA said that all new inductions of A320/321 neo aircraft after August 2019 must be installed with modified main gear box (MGB ) and new modified third stage LPT blades as non compliance would lead to restriction to lease these engines.
IndiGo, the world’s largest customer for the Airbus A320 Neo family planes, has ordered 430 such planes. GoAir has ordered 144 A320 Neo planes. While IndiGo has taken delivery of 92 planes from the A320 Neo family, as of July, GoAir has taken delivery of 35 such aircraft.
The P&W-powered A320 Neos have been facing snags for quite sometime now. The regulator had temporarily grounded 11 A320 Neo planes during early 2018, before eventually quashing the order after Airbus and P&W gave assurances to fix the glitches.