IndiGo, GoAir cancel 65 flights after grounding of faulty planes

DGCA's action on Monday took the total number of grounded aircraft to 14.

New Delhi: Budget carriers IndiGo and GoAir cancelled as many as 65 flights on Tuesday after DGCA, the country’s aviation regulator, grounded 11 of their A320Neo planes with faulty Pratt & Whitney engines, causing severe inconvenience to hundreds of flyers.

Market leader IndiGo cancelled 47 flights and GoAir cancelled 18 of its scheduled flights on Tuesday, a day after the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) grounded their A320Neo planes with faulty engines.

The Gurugram-based IndiGo, whose eight Airbus A-320 Neo aircraft were grounded, cancelled 47 of its 1,000-odd daily flights.

The Wadia Group-promoted GoAir cancelled 18 flights originating from over eight cities. GoAir operates 230 flights per day.

The cancelled flights were from Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Patna, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Amritsar, Srinagar and Guwahati, among others.

Newly-appointed civil aviation minister Suresh Prabhu said the DGCA’s decision to ground certain A320 Neo aircraft with faulty engines is “only for passenger safety”.

“This (the decision on grounding) is only for passenger safety and airlines have also responded positively. They would like to restore the flights as soon as possible by making alternative arrangements. But we cannot play with any issue related to safety and safety is paramount,” he said.

Minister of state for civil aviation Jayant Sinha told a TV channel that the aircraft were grounded as soon as there a safety issue in the engines was detected. He dismissed speculation of delayed action and said the aviation regulator is vigilant and taking necessary action promptly. In a statement issued on Tuesday, IndiGo said, “IndiGo has cancelled certain flights due to the grounding of our aircraft further to the DGCA directions which has been issued in the interest of safety. While we understand that this may cause inconvenience to some of our passengers, given that we have multiple flights to the same destination, we are proactively re-accommodating all our affected passengers on other flights. All affected passengers have been given the option to either choose another flight at no additional cost or cancel their booking and get a full refund without any cancellation charges.”

After the latest incident of engine failure on Monday, when an IndiGo Airbus A-320 Neo suffered a shutdown of a P&W 1100 engine shortly after take-off from Ahmedabad, the DGCA had swung into action and ordered grounding of 11 aircraft that have at least one P&W 1100 engine fitted with a serial number of 450 and beyond.

Earlier, on February 9, three IndiGo aircraft that each had two P&W 1100 engines were grounded.

DGCA’s action on Monday took 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, and the same thing happened to an IndiGo aircraft after take-off from Mumbai on March 5.

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