IndiGo and GoAir cancel more flights for A320neo engine problems
The two Indian low cost carriers IndiGo and GoAir have announced that they would cancel around 626 flights (488 for IndiGo, 138 for GoAir) in March 2018. Cancellations follow the grounding by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) of 11 of their A320neo after recurring failures of their PW 110 engines.
Following the grounding, more A320neo have shown failures, and three flights have been canceled in less than 24 hours starting March 18, 2018. The first aircraft of three was put into maintenance in Delhi after an undisclosed defect was reported. The other two were temporarily grounded due to hydraulic leakages.
The airlines have offered passengers alternative routes or refunds for canceled flights. However, the reduced fleet could lead them to wet-lease new planes to fill in, especially with the summer season coming up. The Canadian company Pratt and Whitney that produced the faulty engines of the A320neo has announced that they would not be fixed before the end of June 2018.
In an effort to ensure safety, the DGCA has asked for the High court of Delhi to ground the whole fleet of IndiGo's A320Neos until the manufacturer has provided satisfying repairs. The court refused the plea.
IndiGo could be losing more than $11.000 per grounded aircraft per day, but aviation consultant Mark Martin stated to Quartz that the financial loss is not as dramatic as the damage that an incident would do to the company’s brand and image.
Another technical problem has affected IndiGo, as an ATR 72-600 had to go back to its factory in Toulouse on its maiden flight on March 16, 2018. Though the airline has not disclosed the reason of that failure, sources said it would be due to a low oil pressure level. The airline has an order of 50 ATR 70-seats planes and received the first aircraft on November 17, 2017. It expected 21 of them to be delivered before the end of 2018. The ATR 72-600 is also powered by Pratt and Whitney engines.
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