DGCA Di­rects IndiGo, GoAir to Fix P&W En­gine Is­sues

Fol­low­ing a di­rec­tive by the US FAA, the In­dian avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tor or­ders changes on 13 en­gines of IndiGo air­craft and two of GoAir by De­cem­ber this year

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New Delhi: The Direc­torate Gen­eral of Civil Avi­a­tion (DGCA) has or­dered en­gine changes on seven Air­bus A320­neos — six IndiGo and one GoAir air­craft — af­ter a di­rec­tive by the US Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity (FAA) to re­place en­gines by De­cem­ber 2018.

“Some of the en­gines in­stalled on air­craft op­er­ated by In­dian op­er­a­tors —13 en­gines of IndiGo air­craft and two en­gines of GoAir — are af­fected. In­dian op­er­a­tors have suf­fi­cient time to be­come com­pli­ant,” said a se­nior DGCA of­fi­cial, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied.

The air­wor­thi­ness di­rec­tive (AD) from FAA re­quires re­place­ment of high pres­sure com­pres­sor (HPC) front hub due to cor­ro­sion, said the of­fi­cial.

“As per the di­rec­tive, ac­tion has to be taken within 120 days af­ter ef­fec­tive date, or be­fore ex­ceed­ing 6,180 cy­cles since new, or within five years since the ship date, as in­di­cated in the AD, which­ever oc­curs first,” the of­fi­cial added.

The di­rec­tives are for Air­bus A320­neo planes fit­ted with Pratt & Whit­ney en­gines, op­er­ated by IndiGo and GoAir in In­dia.

In­dian car­ri­ers op­er­ate one of the world’s largest fleet of Air­bus A320­neos fit­ted with P&W en­gines with 75 in op­er­a­tions. IndiGo, which started op­er­at­ing a large fle- et of these air­craft in April last year, has faced most prob­lems with the P&W en­gines so far.

In a state­ment, P&W said, “The re­cent air­wor­thi­ness di­rec­tives will not cause any oper­a­tional dis­rup- tion for the op­er­a­tors. The en­gine parts will be re­placed dur­ing planned fu­ture shop visit and is there­fore pre­dictable for op­er­a­tors.” “Pratt & Whit­ney is com­ply­ing with the di­rec­tives and work­ing closely with our cus­tomers to en­sure the process is com­pleted within the re­quired time­line.”

Air In­dia and Vis­tara also op­er­ate Air­bus A320­neos but with CFM en­gines and they haven’t faced any is­sues with their air­craft.

In­dus­try in­sid­ers, how­ever, added that these prob­lems do not risk the safety of the air­craft. “The ad­vi­sories are pre­cau­tion­ary in na­ture and does not, any­way, im­pact the safety of the air­craft,” said an in­dus­try ex­ec­u­tive.

The other di­rec­tive by the FAA re­quires re­place­ment of cer­tain parts on PW 1100 en­gines from se­rial num­ber 450 to 614 in­stalled on A320­neo air­craft. “Both IndiGo and Go Air are com­pli­ant on the same,” said the DGCA of­fi­cial.

Among the reg­u­la­tors across the globe, the DGCA fol­lows the most strin­gent reg­u­la­tions for the op­er­a­tions of Air­bus A320­neo air­craft, as In­dia has the largest fleet.

Fol­low­ing fre­quent fail­ures on A320­neos fit­ted with Pratt & Whit­ney en­gines, In­dia’s avi­a­tion reg­u­la­tor had im­posed fre­quent checks on these air­craft in­clud­ing in­spec­tion of en­gines af­ter every 1,000 hours, in­stead of 1,500 hours as sought by P&W, and repe- at in­spec­tion every 500 hours.

The strin­gent di­rec­tive re­mains in force. The DGCA di­rec­tive for the A320­neos hav­ing PW en­gines comes a day af­ter the In­dian reg­u­la­tor alerted op­er­a­tors of Boe­ing 737 Max — Jet Air­ways and SpiceJet — about a po­ten­tial mal­func­tion, which could lead to “ex­ces­sive nose-down at­ti­tude, sig­nif­i­cant alti­tude loss, and pos­si­ble im­pact with ter­rain”. The US FAA and Boe­ing had is­sued a bul­letin over last two days af­ter analysing the crash of Lion Air’s brand new Boe­ing 737 Max on Oc­to­ber 29 soon af­ter take­off from Jakarta, killing all the 189 on board.

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