Following cases of in-flight shutdowns and rejected takeoffs, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday grounded 11 A320neos powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G turbofans. The latest engine problems involve eight of 32 A320neos operated by budget airline IndiGo and another three by GoAir. The groundings will likely result in the cancellation of some 85 flights a day.
In a written statement, Pratt and Whitney said it is working closely with customers to minimize disruption. “The corrective action has been approved and we have already begun to deliver production engines with the upgraded configuration,” it said. “We are working to mitigate the aircraft on ground (AOG) situation by the end of the second quarter.”
Despite European Aviation Safety Agency guidance that airplanes with just one affected engine can continue to fly, the DGCA overruled its European counterpart. “All A320neos with even a single GTF engine featuring a seal found to cause vibrations will not fly,” it said on March 12.
The DGCA's statement comes barely three weeks after it refuted media claims that IndiGo had put safety at risk by flying A320neos powered by PW1100Gs following findings of faulty knife-edge seals. It called the allegations “baseless, devoid of technical support, and lacking material evidence…with a view to create sensation in the minds of the traveling public.” Coincidentally, DGCA's decision comes just after new minister for civil aviation Suresh Prabhu took charge following the resignation of Ashok Gajapathi Raju.
Meanwhile, IndiGo has taken on a four-month wet lease of four A320s from Lithuania’s Small Planet Airlines.