India grounds 11 Indigo, GoAir jets after P&W engine shutdowns


Aviation regulator DGCA on Monday grounded 11 A320 neo aircraft powered by a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines following instances of engine failures during flights. The final incident that pushed DGCA, the civil aviation watchdog, into action occurred early on Monday morning, when the right engine of an IndiGo A320neo aircraft, packed to capacity with 186 passengers and crew, failed mid-air on way from Ahmedabad to Lucknow.

DGCA said it has not got a "firm commitment" from the USA engine manufacturer on addressing fresh safety concerns, which forced it to ground the fleet. On February 9, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had issued an emergency airworthiness directive + for A-320 Neos fitted with PW1100 engines (from serial number 450 and beyond) due to some occurrences of aborted take-off and in-flight shut down (IFSD) of these engines.

Pratt had proposed a fix that would see at least one engine featuring an older seal reinstated on planes while it worked on a more permanent solution. The DGCA statement added that at the moment there is no concrete proposal in place to address the issue. Officials went into a huddle soon after and emerged with the directive to ground these A320neo planes.

The Indian move immediately grounded eight aircraft at IndiGo, the nation's largest carrier, and three at GoAirlines India Pvt.

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"Hundreds of passengers were stranded after a number of flights were cancelled by both IndiGo and GoAir in the wake of some aircraft going out of operations due to the DGCA order", the Press Trust of India quoted a source as saying. The corrective action has been approved and we have already begun to deliver production engines with the upgraded configuration.

It added that the "aircraft on ground situation" may take until Q2 to be resolved.

These comprise eight IndiGo A320neos and three GoAir aircraft. "We are in receipt of the communication from the DGCA and we shall comply promptly with the directions of the DGCA". An IndiGo spokesperson said only nine A320neos are grounded. The airlines have promised to accommodate the affected passengers in other aircraft but there will be a change in their schedule.

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