Clarify stand on Neo P&W 1100 engines, Bombay high court tells Centre
The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the Centre to clarify its stand on the pre-450 series Neo P&W 1100 engines, even as most grounded aircraft of IndiGo and GoAir have started flying again after replacing the problematic engines.
“Everybody is concerned about safety of passengers,” said division bench of Justice Naresh Patil and Girish Kulkarni.
“Ultimately an expert’s view will prevail, but this air (anxiety about safety of fliers) must clear. We must navigate in clear air,” said the bench.
It was hearing a petition filed by a frequent flier, raising concerns about safety and airworthiness of Neo P&W 1100 engines fitted on number of aircraft flown in India and demanding that the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) be directed to ground all aircraft flying with the purportedly problematic engines manufactured by US giant Pratt & Whitney.
The comment came after advocate Advait Sethna, who represented DGCA, maintained that the Indian aviation regulator has conducted its own examinations and had not found any problem with pre-450 series Neo P&W 1100 engines.
The judges then asked additional solicitor general about the stand of the Centre with regards to safety and airworthiness of these engines and asked him to file a short affidavit clarifying Centre’s stand on the issue.
IndiGo’s lawyer, senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas informed the court that six of its nine grounded aircraft have started flying after replacing post-449 series engines with safer ones.
GoAir’s lawyer, senior advocate Venkatesh Dhond said three of its aircraft had been grounded for having fitted with post-449 series engines and now two of those aircraft have resumed services after replacing the engines.
A total of 45 Neo aircrafts are operated in the country by Air India, Vistara, Indigo and GoAir. However, the affected aircrafts are only operated by the latter two airlines.
According to the airlines, 626 flights have been cancelled up to March 31 after the aviation regulator asked them to ground aircrafts with post-449 Neo engines.