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Feb 12, 2018 07:09 PM IST | Source: PTI

No plans to ground A320 Neos over P&W engine glitches: DGCA

The EASA directive issued last Friday came in the wake of instances of the engines in-flight shutdowns and rejected takeoffs involving A320 Neo family planes.

The aviation regulator DGCA has ruled out grounding the Pratt & Whitney-powered Airbus A320Neo fleet despite the recurring serious safety issues with the faulty new engines.

Budget carrier IndiGo, which is the largest operator of these planes in the country, and GoAir being the other one, have already grounded three such planes following an emergency airworthiness directive from the European Aviation Safety Agency or EASA on this issue over the weekend.

"No (there is no such plan)," was the response of Director General Civil Aviation BS Bhullar in response to a query from PTI, seeking to know whether there was any move on the part of the regulator to ground the entire Pratt & Whitney-powered Airbus A320 Neo planes despite repeated serious safety glitches with the new engines of these planes.

It can be noted that this is in sharp contrast to the stance taken by the regulator during the Manmohan Singh government when Air India's Boeing 787 Dreamliners faced battery fire issues prompting DGCA to order grounding of all B-787s shortly after the US Federal Aviation Administration ordered so.

"Certainly, we will not fly the Dreamliners until the FAA and our DGCA give clearance," then aviation minister Ajit Singh had said on the grounding of these planes.

The EASA directive issued last Friday came in the wake of instances of the engines in-flight shutdowns and rejected takeoffs involving A320 Neo family planes.

Significantly, last time also, despite IndiGo reportedly facing 69 Neo engine (earlier ones) failures between March 2016 and September 2017 and GoAir too reporting a good number of in-flight disruptions on account of the engine woes, the DGCA did not take any tough stand.

Meanwhile, the American engine maker Pratt & Whitney in a statement said it was working with Airbus and its customers to minimise any "operational disruptions" in the wake of latest EASA directive even as further deliveries of these planes have already been put on hold.

"We, with the support of Airbus, are in close contact with customers to address an issue that is isolated to a limited sub population of engines. In India, more than 90 per cent of aircraft powered by PW1100G-JM engines remain in service. We are working with Airbus and our customers to minimise any operational disruption," it said.

"The product safety boards of P&W and Airbus, post- evaluating the PW1100G-JM engine issue, have decided that all Neo deliveries are on hold till further notice," IndiGo had said yesterday in a regulatory filing.

The issue impacts a limited sub-population of engines and IndiGo had to ground three of its aircraft in the interim, it had added.

On Saturday, a senior official at the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had said EASA had on issued an emergency airworthiness directive for A320 Neos fitted with PW1100 engines having a particular serial number.

Airbus has also issued an alert for providing instructions to de-pair the affected engines and discontinue extended range twin-engine operations for aircraft fitted with affected engines.
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