The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grounded on Monday 11 A320 Neo (new engine option) jets featuring Pratt & Whitney 1100 engines beyond Engine Serial Number (ESN) 450.
These engines have a new seal that causes vibrations. This is understood to be behind several cases of engine in-flight shut-down (IFSD) and Rejected Take-Off (RTO) involving A320 Neo aircraft, including two involving IndiGo aircraft this month. Both times, the aircraft suffered a single engine failure and had to return, but were not in danger as the jet can operate with just one operational engine.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had in February grounded aircraft that had both of its engines of the defective batch. But it said that jets with one defective engines could continue to fly, though not over water. The DGCA doesn’t seem to agree. After the EASA order, IndiGo had grounded three jets in February.
The jet manufacturer, Airbus, proposes de-pairing the engines to ensure that both the P&W1100 engines are not of the same series, and discontinuing extended flight.
The engine manufacturer, P&W, proposes replacing the seal with an older one while it works on a more permanent solution
But replacing all defective parts on all engines is likely to take at least till June, the engine manufacturer has said.
There are 45 A320 Neo jets fitted with P&W engines with IndiGo (32) and Go Air (13). 14 of them are grounded – 11 of IndiGo and three of Go Air. The rest of the 31 jets are in operation because their engines are from a different batch.
Air India and Vistara also operate A320 Neo jets but they are fitted with engines from other companies.
Source: DGCA and Bloomberg
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