Go Air said it was “altering flight schedules” and “making all possible arrangements” to minimise the impact.”
New Delhi: On a day when an IndiGo flight, an Airbus A-320 Neo aircraft, suffered a shutdown of an Pratt and Whitney (P&W) 1100 engine shortly after take-off from Ahmedabad, aviation regulator DGCA swung into action and on Monday ordered grounding of 11 — 8 IndiGo and three Go Air — Airbus 320 Neo aircraft that have at least one P&W 1100 engine fitted with a serial number of 450 and beyond.
Earlier, three IndiGo aircraft that each had two P&W 1100 engines had been grounded since February 9. Monday’s DGCA action will take the total number of grounded aircraft to 14. On February 24 this year, a Go Air A-320 Neo aircraft suffered a shutdown of a PW-1100 engine after take-off from Leh while the same thing happened on an IndiGo aircraft after take-off from Mumbai on March 5. Till now, only A-320 Neo aircraft that had both P&W1100 engines had been grounded but now this action has been extended to even aircraft with one such engine. As a consequence, the grounding of eight aircraft of IndiGo and three of Go Air on Monday is bound to significantly affect flight schedules of the two carriers and several flights are likely to be cancelled. IndiGo said it was trying to accommodate “affected passengers” on other flights. Go Air said it was “altering flight schedules” and “making all possible arrangements” to minimise the impact.”
In a statement on Monday, the DGCA said, “Keeping in the safety of aircraft operations, A-320 Neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN (serial number) 450 have been grounded with immediate effect. Both IndiGo and Go Air have been told not to refit these engines, which are spare with them in their inventory.” The DGCA added, “P&W in their latest communication has also not given any firm commitment as to when issue on the engine post serial number 450 will be resolved and informed that all the affected engines will be replaced by early June, 2018. There is no concrete proposal in place at this stage to address the issue.”
The DGCA had earlier allowed these 11 aircraft (with one such engine) to operate since these aircraft were in any case not approved for Extended Range Twin-engine Operation Performance (ETOPs) operations. Therefore, till now, no other additional operational restriction had been imposed on these 11 aircraft. But after three incidents of engine-failure or In-flight Shutdown (IFSD) in the past 16 days, the DGCA cracked the whip on these 11 aircraft as well. The DGCA has been in touch with M/s Airbus and European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on the matter.