India’s aviation regulator today grounded all Airbus A320neo aircraft powered by the latest Pratt & Whitney engines citing safety concerns.
The decision comes after three separate reported in-flight shutdowns for the same model of the aircraft, according to a press release by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation. The regulator will continue to be in touch with stakeholders and review the situation in due course, the release added.
The Three In-Flight Shutdowns
- GoAir A320neo VT-WGB after takeoff from Leh on Feb. 24
- IndiGo A320neo VT-ITJ after takeoff from Mumbai on March 5
- IndiGo A320neo VT-ITA after takeoff from Ahmedabad on March 12
At least eight planes for India largest airline IndiGo, and three of low-cost carrier GoAir will be impacted by the order, a government official told Bloomberg asking not to be identified.
IndiGo said in a media statement that it will “promptly comply” with the directions of the DGCA, which will leave the airline with nine A320neo aircraft on ground. “After the necessary engine swaps, none of these affected engines shall be operated by IndiGo,” the statement added.
The DGCA’s action comes after the European Aviation Safety Agency in a Feb. 9 directive grounded Airbus A320neo aircraft having two affected engines within three flight cycles after instances of aborted take-offs and in-flight shutdowns globally. But European regulators had deemed the planes safe if featuring only one affected turbine, which left out these 11 aircraft as they were fitted with only one affected Pratt engine.
The manufacturer had earlier proposed a fix that would see at least one engine featuring an older seal reinstated on planes while it worked on a more permanent solution. Under the Pratt plan, all defective components would be replaced by early June, requiring some planes to fly with one affected engine for almost three more months. The DGCA said the manufacture has “no concrete proposal in place at this stage to address the issue”.
“The corrective action has been approved and we have begun to deliver production engines with the upgraded configuration,” Pratt said in a statement, adding that it is working closely with customers to minimise disruptions.