Civil aviation authorities take up A320neo engine issue with Airbus, Pratt & Whitney
08 January 2019
Civil aviation authorities in India have called a meeting of officials of European plane maker Airbus SE and engine maker Pratt & Whitney amidst unending woes of Indian carriers IndiGo and GoAir that use A320neo planes fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines.
Reports quoting sources close to the development said civil aviation ministry officials discussed ongoing issues with representatives of Airbus and the engine maker after the Indian carriers warned of new problems with the Pratt & Whitney engines on its A320neo planes.
IndiGo, India’s biggest carrier by market share, and rival GoAir were forced to ground Airbus A320neo aircraft and cancel flights on several occasions in the past year due to problems associated with the planes’ Pratt & Whitney engines.
This has also prompted European air safety officials to issue emergency restrictions on the A320neos, in a move that 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.
Indian budget carriers IndiGo and GoAir had cancelled 65 flights in one day on 13 March 2018 after the country's aviation regulator DGCA grounded 11 of their A320Neo planes with faulty Pratt & Whitney engines.
Recent incidents involved an IndiGo aircraft making an emergency landing on 11 December due to smoke in the cabin. In another case on 3 January, an IndiGo plane had to return to its base due to a technical problem.
India authorities are reported to have sought replacement of the faulty engines while asking the airlines to refrain from putting into service further planes fitted with the engines - and even ground existing ones - until problems are resolved.
IndiGo is Airbus’ biggest customer for the A320neo, all of which are fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines. Low-cost carriers IndiGo and GoAir together have over 500 such planes on order.
Airbus in July said it had a backlog of up to 100 A320neo jets on the ground outside factories due to delays in engine deliveries, mainly from Pratt & Whitney.