Pratt & Whitney Engines Are Giving IndiGo A Big Headache

An Indi Go airlines’ aircraft taxis at Mumbai's Chhatrapathi Shivaji International Airport

This comes after the European Aviation Safety Agency stated that several A320neo-family aircraft had experienced engines failures in flight or during take-off, and that the problem applied to a series of recently delivered geared turbofans starting with the serial number P770450.

"Pratt & Whitney, with the support of Airbus, is in close contact with customers to address an issue that is isolated to a limited sub population of engines". The GTF engine has demonstrated its promised ability to reduce fuel burn by 16 percent to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 50 percent to the regulatory standard, and to lower the noise footprint by 75 percent.

As many as 11 of the 113 Pratt-powered A320neos delivered by Airbus have been grounded, according to people familiar with the matter, with 43 in-service engines affected in total, the report said.

A total of 113 planes in the A320neo family, used by 18 airlines, are now in service that are equipped with the engines.

IndiGo, which is the largest operator of these planes in the country, and GoAir being the other one, have already grounded three such planes following an emergency airworthiness directive from the European Aviation Safety Agency or Easa on this issue over the weekend.

"We have identified the potentially affected engines and communicated with our customers", Pratt & Whitney said in a statement.

"This is something done hand-in-hand with the regulators to put some teeth behind the recommendations that we made", an Airbus spokesperson said. The rest of the fleet is safe to fly as per guidelines issued by DGCA and EASA, " it said. Engines that incorporated this engineering change entered revenue service on customer aircraft beginning in December 2017, it said, adding that in late January and early February of this year, four of these modified engines did not perform as anticipated. Customers can choose between the Pratt & Whitney model and a type built by the CFM joint venture between General Electric Co. and France's Safran SA.

A statement from IndiGo on Saturday said the precautionary measure of grounding the three aircraft "resulted in cancellations of some of our flights".

P&W added that preliminary findings indicated that the problem was with the knife edge seal on the modified aft hub of the high-pressure compressor.

If one engine fails, a twin engine aircraft can safely land with the other operative engine.

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