Home / News / India /  After IndiGo, DGCA issues riders on use of P&W engines by GoAir

NEW DELHI : India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday directed Wadia Group-controlled GoAir to stop flying Airbus A320neo planes powered by Pratt and Whitney (P&W) 1100 series engines, which have operated more than 3,000 hours. On Monday a similar directive was issued to larger rival IndiGo.

The airline has 15 days to comply with the instruction, an official aware of the development said, on the condition of anonymity.

As many as 13 GoAir aircraft are expected to be affected by the order, the official said, adding the airline will have to change the P&W engines within 15 days or ground the aircraft operating on these engines.

At present, only IndiGo and GoAir operate Pratt and Whitney-powered Airbus A320neo/A321neo planes.

“GoAir has not received any communication/directive from DGCA in this respect. Whenever we receive any communication, at that point in time, we will evaluate and respond accordingly. We will continue to work on all directives/policies as stipulated by the DGCA," said a GoAir spokesperson.

“Pratt & Whitney is working in coordination with our airline customers to incorporate upgrades improving the durability of the low-pressure turbine in the PW1100G-JM fleet to address a known issue," P&W said in a statement. “We certified hardware improvements which are incorporated into all new production engines and during planned maintenance visits," it added.

The latest diktat from the DGCA comes a day after the regulator directed IndiGo, the country’s largest airline, to stop flying 16 A320neo planes powered by P&W 1100 series engines that have been in operation for more than 3,000 hours.

A team of DGCA officials had on 28 October visited IndiGo offices to review the airline’s maintenance and safety data, following three separate incidents of engine shutdown on IndiGo’s A320neo aircraft on 24, 25 and 26 October.

Airlines operating A320neo or A321neo aircraft powered by P&W engines have faced several engine problems. Major ones involve combustion chamber distress, low-pressure turbine and gearbox failures, and engine vibration. Problems such as combustion chamber distress have been addressed and P&W is working on mitigation measures to resolve the rest. Redesigned and more durable LPT (low-pressure turbine) stage 3 blades are being incorporated to resolve problems related to LPT failure, while a redesigned piston seal in the high-pressure compressor will be used to address transient vibration.

Meanwhile, the DGCA has made it mandatory that all A320/321neo aircraft inducted after August 2019 must be installed with a modified main gearbox (MGB) and new modified third stage LPT blades. At present, no engine from maintenance, repair and overhaul units is accepted unless installed with modified MGBs and new LPT blades. This excludes those which are at final stages in shop or in transit. There is also a restriction on acceptance of lease engines without modified LPT and MGB. The engine failure related to MGB is expected to be contained after software updates.

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