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IndiGo resumes operations of four of five planes with faulty engines after repair

The development comes roughly a week after DGCA banned 11 A320 Neo aircraft from flying on March 12 because of problems with their engine powered by Pratt & Whitney.

india Updated: Mar 19, 2018 23:49 IST
Neha LM Tripathi and Faizan Haidar
Neha LM Tripathi and Faizan Haidar
Hindustan Times, Mumbai/New Delhi
IndiGo planes,Airbus,Faulty planes
The DGCA’s directive came after two incidents of mid-air engine failure in March. In neither case the plane was in danger because twin-engine jets can operate with one functional engine.(Mint File Photo)

Low-cost carrier IndiGo has grounded an Airbus A320 Neo (New Engine Option) aircraft after five of its jets experienced engine problems on Sunday.

The other four, two of whom were also Airbus A320 Neo jets, were allowed to resume operations on Monday after repairs.

The development comes roughly a week after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) banned 11 A320 Neo aircraft from flying on March 12 because of problems with their engine powered by Pratt & Whitney (P&W). Engines of this make beyond serial number 450 feature a seal that causes excess vibrations. IndiGo, which has a fleet of 45 Airbus A320 Neo jets, has now grounded 12 such aircraft. Go Air has grounded three planes.

The DGCA’s directive came after two incidents of mid-air engine failure in March. In neither case the plane was in danger because twin-engine jets can operate with one functional engine. On Sunday, metal chips were detected in the engine oil of an Airbus A 320 Neo Bengaluru-Delhi flight (flight number 6E 132) . This aircraft was grounded.

“…Out of 2,000 plus flights in past 48 hours we detected five technical snags and out of these only one aircraft has been grounded. Rest four aircraft are back in operation,” the airline said. Aviation regulator DGCA said it is keeping a close watch on the recent incidents.“These appear as one-off incidents and not linked with the engine issues due to which some planes have been grounded. But our investigation team is scanning every case and we are in touch with airline and engine manufacturer,” said a DGCA official on the condition of anonymity.

When asked about flight cancellation, the official said airlines are updating fares on their websites and if other airlines started charging higher fares, the regulator will interfere.

According to IndiGo’s website, more than 900 flights were cancelled between March 16 and 31. Each Airbus A320 Neo carries around 180 passengers. The DGCA and P&W estimate that the problem will persist till at least June as the engine manufacturer needs time to provide replacements. Ajay Prakash, CEO of Mumbai-based Nomad Travels said, “ Fares depend on demand and supply. Due to aircraft reduction, across the entire spectrum there has been a 20-25% fare hike with exceptions.”

On Sunday, Mumbai-Srinagar IndiGo flight 6E 559, which used an A320 Neo jet fitted with a P&W engine, was grounded for a day after a leak from one engine, which was detected during maintenance checks, was repaired. The airline said that the issue was not related to the engine. The airline also faced problem with a Delhi- Srinagar flight on Sunday that witnessed hydraulic leak from one engine after it landed at Srinagar. Indigo said the aircraft was cleared after maintenance checks upon arrival at Srinagar airport but the pilot, while starting the engine, observed a hydraulic - not oil - leakage from the other engine.

Indigo flight 6E 711 that took off from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) for Goa at 1.50pm had to return immediately after take-off. The aircraft reportedly experienced high vibration in one of its engines. A Mumbai bound flight 6E 439 from Kochi had to reject take-off due to issues in its engine.

First Published: Mar 19, 2018 22:40 IST