The Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday grounded a few Airbus A320neo aircraft currently operating in the country due to the ongoing Pratt & Whitney engine issue.
DGCA asked IndiGo to ground eight of its A320neo aircraft, while GoAir has been asked to ground three of its own ‘neo’ aircraft until further notice.
The civil aviation authority has said that no concrete proposal has been given by Pratt & Whitney yet on when the engine woes will be resolved. All the grounded A320neo aircraft are fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines.
About the A320neo
The Airbus A320neo is a family of passenger aircraft designed and manufactured by Airbus. The family comprises of three aircraft variants — A319neo, A320neo and A321neo. It is a successor to the A320 family of aircraft.
All three variants are narrow-bodied. The project was launched by the French company on December 1, 2010.
The term ‘neo’ stands for new engine options. Airlines purchasing any of these variants have two options of engines to choose from — CFM International LEAP-1A or Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines.
The A320neo in sales
As of March 2018, Airbus has delivered 242 A320neo aircraft to various airlines across the world, including IndiGo and GoAir in India.
Out of the first 88 A320neo aircraft delivered in March 2018, 49 had Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines, while 39 had the CFM International LEAP-1A engines.
Most of the 88 delivered aircraft are operational and have clocked more than 57,600 flight hours over 142 routes, according to a report by Aviation Week & Space Technology.
Operators currently using the A320neo have confirmed saving around 15 percent fuel-burn per seat.
The ongoing issue is pertaining to the A320neo aircraft that are using Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines.
In a series of similar incidents, A320 neo aircraft across the world suffered engine failures and made emergency landings. IndiGo and GoAir too faced such issues.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had also issued an emergency airworthiness directive for A320neo aircraft equipped with PW1100 engines having a particular serial number.
In February, Reuters reported that Airbus had informed affected A320neo customers and operators about them having identified the issue and said that currently 113 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo aircraft were being flown by 18 of Airbus' customers across the world.
Airbus and Pratt & Whitney are currently working on solving the issue. They are expected to introduce a revised configuration with a mature and approved design.
Impact on airline operations
IndiGo is expected to be one of the largest operators of the A320neo variant. The airline has already received delivery of 32 A320neo aircraft and has the option of adding over 300 A320neos to its fleet.
The persisting problem with the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines is expected to pose as a hindrance to the airline’s fleet development plans. Operators of A320neo aircraft will be flying truncated fleets, which could add to financial strain.
IndiGo had been forced to ground some of its A320neo aircraft in August 2017 due to the same engine problem.