Airbus warns of new Pratt & Whitney engine problem

European plane maker Airbus SE yesterday warned of new problems with the Pratt & Whitney engines on its A320neo planes, prompting European air safety officials to issue emergency restrictions.

According to commentators, the move will force airlines operating the A320neo with affected engines to ground some of their planes.

According to the European Aviation Safety Agency, it was aware of "several occurrences of engine in-flight shutdown" and other in-service events with the engine on the A320neo, Airbus's best-selling plane.

The agency had ordered flight restrictions on planes powered by the engines.

According to commentators, the problem with a core part of the engine comes as the latest in a series of setbacks suffered by the company with its geared turbofan engines.

Last year, Airbus was stuck with planes it had built but was not able to ship to airlines as it was awaiting engines from Pratt.

Since the entry of A320neo into service more than two years ago, Pratt also has had to replace engines more frequently due to component failures.

Addressing the issues has taken longer than expected, hurting airline operations and creating a financial headwind for United Technologies.

Meanwhile, Pratt & Whitney said the problem, related ''to the knife edge seal in the High Pressure Compressor aft hub,'' which affects ''a limited subpopulation'' of its PW1100G-JM engines. The company, however, did not give details.

According to Airbus, 113 of the jets at 18 airlines use the Pratt geared turbofan engine, but not all are affected. According to the publication Air Transport World, 43 of the planes, both A320 and A321 models, may be affected.

Overheating problems on the Pratt engines had earlier interfered with A320neo deliveries since early last year.