NEW DELHI :
Wadia Group-owned no-frills carrier GoAir cancelled several flights for the second successive day on Tuesday, following an order by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to not overwork its crew amid escalating safety issues in the Indian airspace, according to an airline official.
Most of the 19 flights scrapped on Tuesday were either to originate from or land in Mumbai, New Delhi, and Bengaluru, including those between Mumbai and Port Blair, Mumbai and Cochin, Mumbai and Bengaluru, New Delhi and Nagpur, New Delhi and Lucknow, Bengaluru and Ahmedabad, Bengaluru and Patna, New Delhi and Srinagar, New Delhi and Patna, New Delhi and Ranchi, and Patna and Ranchi.
Tuesday’s scrapping of flights follows Monday’s cancellation of 25 flights by the airline. The carrier, which has a fleet of 54 aircraft, including 38 Airbus A320neo (new engine option) and 16 A320ceo (current engine option) planes, cited “flight duty time limitations of the crew" as one of the reasons for the disruption in service. The airline is about 30 pilots short, according to one person with direct knowledge of the developments, requesting anonymity.
On Monday, Mint reported that the DGCA had criticised GoAir for making its crew work longer than the mandated hours. It further said that it could endanger flights and passengers if the crew happens to fall asleep.
The airline also said inclement weather, low visibility and protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act had impacted its operations.
The cancellation of the flights by the airline, which operates more than 200 flights everyday to domestic and international destinations, comes amid heightened safety concerns because of snags on the Pratt and Whitney (P&W)-powered A320neo aircraft.
There were fresh concerns about safety with regard to the P&W engines on 23 December as a GoAir-operated Airbus A320neo aircraft that had taken off from Guwahati for Kolkata was forced to turn back because of engine snags.
This was the second such incident in as many days as a GoAir A320neo aircraft flying from Mumbai to Chandigarh on 22 December had to abandon its journey mid-air because of engine vibrations. The incident stoked fresh concerns about the P&W engines.
Such engine issues have also dogged GoAir’s larger rival IndiGo, operated by Interglobe Aviation Ltd, which has a large fleet of Airbus A320neo with P&W engines. The DGCA has intensified safety checks following a spate of incidents involving airlines in India, though these have been classified as preventive steps. At present, the number of A320neo aircraft engines with potential safety problems has risen to more than 130 in India.