India Imposes New Measures on Pratt-powered A320neos

 - January 18, 2019, 1:30 PM

(Updated on January 21)

Reacting to a recent incident of smoke in the cabin of an Indigo Airbus A320neo fitted with Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation on Thursday put into place “additional measures...for immediate compliance by Interglobe Aviation Ltd. (Indigo) and Go Air for identifying and correcting impending failures in dry face seals and LPT (low-pressure turbines).”

The DGCA has ruled the operators must carry out weekly inspections of third-stage LPT blades. For newer engines, it requires boroscope inspection at first oil filter change and “at next opportunity or A-Check, whichever is earlier,” for engines that already underwent their first oil filter change and have accumulated less than 1000 flight hours. The regulator also has recommended an awareness program for cabin and cockpit crew on odor and smoke during the approach phase of flight.

The notice came within nine days of an interaction among the DGCA, Pratt & Whitney, and the two airlines. “We appreciated the productive discussion regarding current fleet management plans and operation in India,” said Pratt & Whitney in a statement to AIN. “The DGCA directive mandates some specific actions for our operators whom Pratt & Whitney will fully support."

The DGCA also has imposed restrictions on overwater flight operations from the Indian mainland to Port Blair in the Andaman Islands with Pratt & Whitney GTF-powered A320neos. However, both airlines have available alternative equipment not subject to the restriction. 

“Indigo and Go Air are unlikely to have much disruption in their service as they have A320ceo versions in their fleet and can fly them to the Andamans," said Vishok Mansingh, CEO of Mumbai-based CAV Aero. “There should be no commercial or financial implications for them.” 

While Pratt & Whitney has addressed all the issues mentioned by the DGCA, the engine company is now working on resolving a fifth problem, this time related to the main/accessory gearbox (MGB), following a few incidents in India late last year and early January “for which we did have early removals,” said a Pratt spokesperson. Pratt told AIN on January 19 that the gearbox issue does not relate to the design of the engine or the fan drive gear system. “[The fan drive system] has performed phenomenally and enabled us to hit the promised fuel, noise, and emission goals since entering service in 2016,” it said. The company said it will inform the DGCA of the results of rig tests now underway within six to eight weeks, the company added.