DGCA tells IndiGo efforts to fix Neo engines inadequate
India’s aviation regulator on Monday warned IndiGo that the airline’s efforts to modify the glitch-prone older Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines installed on Airbus A320Neo aircraft were not satisfactory. This means a significant portion of IndiGo’s fleet could be grounded if the carrier fails to meet a January 31 deadline.
“We may find ourselves in a situation in which we remain saddled with a large number of aircraft with unmodified engines and operating on a schedule approved by us,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said.
However, DGCA said that the grounding of aircraft would be a sub-optimal solution.
IndiGo has 98 A320Neo family aircraft, comprising 91 A320Neos and seven A321Neos, which are all powered by P&W engines. Of these, one of the two engines fitted in 23 aircraft have been modified. The airline recently took delivery of an A320Neo family plane days after the DGCA issued a directive.
The regulator said that for every new A320Neo aircraft that IndiGo adds to its fleet henceforth, it would have to ground a similar aircraft with unmodified engines.
“The grounded aircraft can be allowed a fresh schedule once its engines are replaced,” DGCA said. “This process may remain in force till all the engines in the fleet have been replaced.”
InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, which operates IndiGo, said it is trying to fix the issue. “IndiGo is working with P&W and Airbus to adjust inflow of LPT (low pressure turbine) 3 modified engines to meet the DGCA guidelines,” an IndiGo spokesperson said.
On November 1, DGCA had directed IndiGo to replace P&W engines with modified LPTs on 97 Airbus A320Neo aircraft by 31 January, following a series of engine incidents.
Only IndiGo and GoAir operate P&W-powered A320Neo family aircraft in India. GoAir has 38 Airbus A320Neo aircraft on its fleet, which are also powered by P&W engines.