India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has reportedly told IndiGo, the country’s largest airline, to ground their older Airbus A320neo every time it takes a new one into the fleet. The problem is related to faulty Pratt & Whitney engines that power the airliner, as the authority wants them replaced by new, fixed ones.
IndiGo is tasked with replacing old, potentially faulty Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines powering its Airbus A320neo fleet with new and modified ones. The airline has just under a hundred of these planes. The deadline to complete the replacements is set for January 31, 2020.
Speaking with reporters during the Dubai Airshow 2019, Ronojoy Dutta, IndiGo CEO revealed that a task is indeed a difficult one, but was hopeful in meeting the deadline. “It’s a challenge. But we have every intention of meeting it. Pratt is helping us and we are trying to make that work as fast as we can,” Said Dutta, as reported by Reuters.
However, the Indian aviation authority now too appears concerned with the airline’s ability to meet the deadline. The DGCA has reportedly told the airline to ground an old A320neo for every new Airbus narrow-body, powered by two modified PW1100G engines, it takes, the Times of India has reported.
The idea behind the logic is to replace old aircraft, while they are grounded for engine replacement, with the new, incoming narrow-bodies, in this way avoiding disturbance to flight schedule.
IndiGo was one of the first airlines to introduce Airbus A320neo to its fleet, having taken first deliveries on the same year when the model entered service ‒ in 2016. Ever since, it has suffered multiple PW1100G engine failure incidents and plane groundings related to the issue.
At one point, the airline even faced the risk of having its whole A320neo fleet grounded, as the DGCA had ordered it to do so. However, the airline appealed to the High Court of Delhi which dismissed the regulator’s request, giving the green light to IndiGo to continue operating its A320neos.
Having been asked to complete engine checks earlier in 2019, IndiGo, together with Go Air, are now tasked with replacing old, potentially faulty engines with new and modified ones. The two airlines are the only A320neo powered by Pratt & Whitney engines operators in the country. Nevertheless, approximately a quarter of all aircraft affected by the issue were found in India, according to the DCGA estimations.
The PW1100G is one of two engine options available for Airbus A320neo, the other option being CFM International LEAP.