The Directorate of the General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have taken a drastic step of grounding 11 Airbus narrow-body aircraft – A320 neos – powered by the latest Pratt & Whitney engines. The move has had an impact on eight IndoGo aircraft and three Go Airline planes.
The removal of the aircraft from the country’s skies came hours after an IndiGo aircraft fitted with PW1100 engines, encountered a mid-air glitch shortly after take-off from Ahmedabad to Lucknow, which forced the pilot to return to Ahmedabad.
The DGCA issued a statement saying that A320neos with even one Pratt engine featuring a seal found to cause vibrations are no longer allowed to fly. The unilateral action is at odds with the European Aviation Safety Agency, which repeated guidance that the jets are safe if they have a single affected turbine.
It comes after three in-service shutdowns of aircraft with one PW1100 engine featuring the seal, two of which occurred in the past week, according to the DGCA.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded across the country as IndiGo and GoAir flights were cancelled.
According to reports, there were no details of the flights or passengers affected. Airlines were, however, making arrangements to “minimise” the impact. “The affected passengers would be accommodated on other flights on our network,” IndiGo said in a statement.
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,” reported Bloomberg.
The company said that while the situation may take until the end of the second quarter to be sorted, five out of the 11 newly grounded aircraft may be able to recommence flying by swapping engines between affected planes.