IndiGo forced to ground another A320neo as P&W engine problems persist
19 March 2018
Low-cost carrier IndiGo was forced to ground another A320neo (new engine option) aircraft on Sunday as the snag-prone Pratt & Whitney engine again developed problems.
This is the third incident of an A320neo powered with P&W engines running into a technical glitch since the grounding of 8 IndiGo's aircraft a week ago, which sent the airline's flight schedules haywire and wreaked havoc with flyers' travel plans.
The IndiGo flight (6E 132) which was grounded at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport operated in the Bangalore-Delhi sector before a problem in the engine was detected by the pilot.
“An A320 neo aircraft that operated Bangalore-Delhi this morning was proactively withdrawn in Delhi for a maintenance check to attend to a Pilot Reported Defect. These maintenance checks are part of a comprehensive program of early detection,” said an IndiGo statement.
IndiGo has cancelled close to 500 flights this month due to the P&W problem. On Sunday, the plane on the Bengaluru-New Delhi morning flight was reported to have been grounded after metal particles were detected in the jet's engine oil.
During the maintenance check, metal chips were observed on engine number 1 and number 3 bearing chip detector, which is a known concern on the neo engine, the airline further stated.
Sunday's incident comes at a time when the Directorate General of Civil Aviation has been asked to submit an affidavit in the Bombay High Court next week, in response to a Public Interest Litigation, on the steps taken by it to allay the fears of passengers over issues related to P&W engines.
The DGCA had on Monday ordered the grounding of 11 A320neo planes fitted with P&W1100 engines beyond ESN 450 series due to recurring problems, including mid-air shutdowns. Of these, eight belong to IndiGo while three are from the GoAir fleet. Another three A320 neos of IndiGo are already on the ground since February.
The decision was taken within hours of an Indigo A320 neo aircraft being forced to make an emergency landing at the Ahmedabad airport due to engine failure in mid-air. The aircraft had taken off from Ahmedabad for Lucknow but had to return because of the snag. The DGCA announced that A320 neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect due to safety reasons. Both IndiGo and GoAir have been directed not to refit these engines, which are spare with them in their inventory.
IndiGo had on Friday said that it was actively engaged with the engine and aircraft manufacturers in finding a long term solution at the earliest. The setback also comes at a time when IndiGo plans to seek permission from the government to fly long-haul international flights. Currently it flies foreign destinations only in West Asia and South-east Asia.
The airline had during the October-December quarter received compensation from Pratt & Whitney for the disruption of flights due to technical snags in the engines earlier. It is, therefore, likely to move for similar compensation now.