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IndiGo cancels flights over engine issues, spares stuck in customs ground planes

IndiGo said on Friday it had grounded eight Airbus A320neo jets but didn’t say when it happened.

business Updated: Aug 19, 2017 00:38 IST
Faizan Haidar
Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IndiGo,Flights cancelled,A320neo aircraft
IndiGo flies four in every 10 Indian air passengers, operating around 900 daily flights.(PTI File Photo)

Private airliner IndiGo has cancelled more than 600 flights in two months because of vexing technical snags with the Pratt & Whitney engines that power its Airbus A320neo aircraft.

India’s biggest airline said on Friday it had grounded eight Airbus A320neo jets but didn’t say when it happened.

Airline sources said 48 flights are affected every day if eight aircraft are grounded. A plane operates six flights a day.

According to a spokesperson of IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, four aircraft were currently grounded because spare engines were awaiting customs clearance over issues related to the new goods and services tax (GST).

“We are awaiting certain clarifications after the implementation of the GST. This has led to unplanned flight cancellations.”

The goods and services tax (GST) kicked in this July, replacing a string of taxes to unify the market. But its implementation is reeling from teething problems across trades, including imports.

The airline is hopeful of resuming normal operations by October.

“Our schedule was planned in June itself pertaining to non-availability of these aircraft for the month of July, August and September. The affected passengers have been accommodated with suitable options,” the spokesperson said.

Also, the official said the airline had flagged the grounding of nine A320neos in June because of a lack of spare engines.

IndiGo and rival GoAir have been facing trouble with engines developed by Pratt & Whitney, the American manufacturer.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation conducted a meeting with the manufacturer in July and asked them to fix the snags — bearing and combustion chamber faults in its PW1100 engines.

Pratt & Whitney assured that improved combustion chambers will be available after October, which means cancellations and the grounding of Airbus A320neo aircraft will continue.

Officials of the civil aviation regulator weren’t available for comments.

IndiGo flies four in every 10 Indian air passengers, operating around 900 daily flights.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Aug 18, 2017 21:26 IST