The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) asked IndiGo and GoAir to fly only those aircraft that have modified Pratt and Whitney (PW) engines on them, Civil Aviation Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday.
The PW engine-powered A320 neo planes in IndiGo and GoAir fleets have been facing glitches both mid-air and on-ground since their induction way back in 2016. On January 13, 2020, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had said the unmodified PW engines do contain an “unsafe condition, which is prone to undesirable outcomes” and therefore, need to be dispensed with.
Puri said on Twitter IndiGo has 134 A320neo and A321neo aircraft and all of them have modified PW engines on them. He added GoAir as 46 A320neo aircraft and modified PW engines have been placed on 30 of them. Earlier this year, the DGCA had asked both the airlines — IndiGo and GoAir — to replace unmodified PW engines by May 30.
In June, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) extended the deadline due to the coronavirus pandemic and asked the airlines to replace all unmodified PW engines on their planes by August-end.
Puri said on Tuesday, “As another step towards enhancing air safety in our country & leaving nothing to chance, @DGCAIndia has asked @IndiGo6E & @goairlinesindia not to fly any aircraft without both Neo engines modified.”
What are A320neos?
A320neos is manufactured by European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and powered by American aerospace manufacturer Pratt and Whitney’s (PW) turbofan engines.
According to airbus.com, the A320neo (new engine option) is one of many upgrades introduced by Airbus to help maintain its A320 product line’s position as the world’s most advanced and fuel-efficient single-aisle aircraft family.
The baseline A320neo has a choice of two new-generation engines (the PurePower PW1100G-JM from Pratt and Whitney and the LEAP-1A from CFM International) and features large, fuel-saving wingtip devices known as Sharklets.
Air India and Vistara have CFM engines in their A320 neo planes.
The A320neo consumes between 15 per cent and 20 per cent less fuel than its predecessor, the A320ceo. The A320neo was touted as Airbus’s answer to its American rival, Boeing.
Tale of glitches:
The DGCA had said that the unmodified PW engines do contain an “unsafe condition, which is prone to undesirable outcomes” and therefore, need to be dispensed with.
On December 10, 2018, an IndiGo flight made emergency landing in Kolkata after its cabin was filled with smoke.
On December 23, 2018 IndiGo A320neo flight from Port Blair to Kolkata reportedly suffered mid-air engine failure.
Again on January 3, IndiGo’s Kolkata-bound flight had to return to Chennai on January 3, following a mid-air engine failure. It was reported that a “loud bang” was heard followed by smoke and heavy vibrations.
In March 2018, as many as 11 such planes were grounded by IndiGo and GoAir following incidents of mid-air aircraft engine failure.
(With agency inputs)