Indian budget airline IndiGo is working with Pratt & Whitney to ensure it meets a May 31 deadline set by the country’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to replace all remaining nonconforming PW1100G engines to improve the durability of the defective third-stage low-pressure turbine (LPT) blades. Design limitations since the inception of the GTF have resulted in aircraft on ground (AOGs), delayed deliveries and heavy compensation incurred by the OEM. The FAA, EASA and the DGCA have all mandated the major modification to the LPT 3, an IndiGo official told AIN.
The world’s largest Neo customer, IndiGo now operates 106 A320neos. The company has replaced some 60 percent of the 212 engines involved to meet an FAA directive applicable by the end of the year, said IndiGo COO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer during a conference call on January 27 to discuss the third fiscal quarter 2020 financial results. The DGCA had postponed an earlier deadline from January to ensure each Neo carried both remodified engines.
“After June, we will be flying full throttle, and I'm excited about what will happen after that,” said IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta. Delays in delivery for the Neos have resulted in IndiGo having to keep its A320ceos longer than planned. Dutta revealed that all the Ceos will have left the fleet by next year. “If Airbus would give us airplanes faster, we would take them faster,” he said.
Around ten remodified engines at a time can be loaded on 747 freighters from the U.S. to India. “It takes eight hours to change the engines generally. The work is carried out by P&W engineers along with Indigo engineering staff in India,” said an IndiGo official.
IndiGo awaits delivery of 635 A320neo family jets at a rate of one aircraft a week for the next 12 years. By the end of December, its 257-strong fleet consisted of 96 A320neos, 126 A320ceos, 10 A321neos, and 25 ATR turboprops.
Meanwhile, fellow budget carrier GoAir still needs to replace 24 PW1100Gs from its fleet of 42 Neos. In November, it chose the Pratt & Whitney engines for another 72 A320neo family aircraft it had ordered. It expects deliveries to start in 2021.