Engine woes: Aviation watchdog grounds 11 Airbus planes of IndiGo, GoAir

Nellie Chapman
March 13, 2018

Indian carriers have had three mid-air engine failures in less than a month, and the latest directive takes the total number of P&W geared turbofan-powered A320neos grounded to 14.

The latest groundings are expected to affect over 70 flights daily between IndiGo and GoAir.

The DGCA grounded the Airbus neos fitted with "PW1100 engines" with engine serial numbers 450 and asked both IndiGo and GoAir to not refit these engines with spare parts in their inventory. That's not acceptable, according to the Indian regulator, which said the manufacturer had "no concrete proposal in place at this stage".

Earlier this year, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had called for the global grounding of Airbus 320 neo aircraft due to a few occurrences of aborted take-offs and in-flight shutdowns on aircraft fitted with the PW 1100 from Serial Number 450 and beyond. Till last month, GoAir had three of these engines - but not two of the same series on one Neo so they did not have to then ground planes.

Pratt & Whitney said in an emailed statement that it's working closely with customers to minimize disruption and has already begun to deliver engines with the "upgraded configuration". "EASA has informed that they are evaluating some interim proposals and will be revising the emergency airworthiness directive in due course, as soon as the current affected engines will be modified with a safer interim design", the release said.

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In less than three weeks, there have been as many incidents of in-flight shut down of A320 neos fitted with one P&W 1100 engine. These included GoAir A-320 Neo (VT-WGB) after take-off from Leh on February 24; IndiGo A-320 Neo (VT-ITJ) after take-off from Mumbai on March 5 and IndiGo A-320 Neo (VT-ITA) after take-off from Ahmedabad on March 12.

Under the Pratt plan, all defective components would be replaced by early June, requiring some planes to fly with one affected engine for nearly three more months.

On 13 February, DGCA had said that it was monitoring engine glitches to ensure that safety is not compromised at any time.

After DGCA's regulations, the IndiGo airlines have ascertained that none of these affected engines shall be operated by IndiGo.

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