Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation -

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

› The chaos due to ac­tion taken by DGCA is an ex­am­ple of lack of co­or­di­na­tion in DGCA func­tion­ing and no con­cern for pas­sen­ger com­fort. VIPUL SAXENA, for­mer In­dian Air Force pi­lot, avi­a­tion ex­pert

› With cur­rent load factors at over 90%, re­duc­tion in ca­pac­ity is likely to have a 5%­10% im­pact on fares on key routes in short to medium term. SHARAT DHALL, COO(B2C), Ya­tra.com

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