IndiGo grounds three A320 neo planes on engine woes

IndiGo flight. File

IndiGo flight. File

The European Aviation Safety Agency on Friday imposed restrictions on the use of recently delivered A320neo-family jets with engines starting at a certain serial number.

Airlines with A320neos that have the affected engines will have to ground some of their planes, the Journal said.

Pratt & Whitney had no immediate comment on the latest Airbus decision.

The A320neo specific PW1100G has been hounded with technical problems and reliability issues, while its variants were less affected.

This is the second time that IndiGo has been forced to ground planes because of P&W engine problems.

The setback comes weeks after Airbus said it was overcoming a two-year sequence of problems on fuel-saving engines developed by United Technologies unit Pratt & Whitney, one of two engine suppliers for its best-selling A320neo.

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ETOPS certification allows twin engine aircraft to fly straight, rather than flying close to airports for diversion in case of an engine trouble.

Several new engine failures involving the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engine will cause a "limited number" of Airbus A320neo family aircraft to stop flying until they are fitted with spares, European aviation safety regulators and Airbus say. It is in the midst of increasing output and last week said it may speed up further. Both A320neos and A321neos are affected.

Passengers have also been offered refunds, IndiGo said.

Airbus has also issued an alert for providing instructions to de-pair the affected engines and discontinue extended range twin-engine operations for aircraft fitted with affected engines. "IndiGo has only three such affected aircraft", the official said on Saturday.

The DGCA official stressed that the above issue is entirely different from issues of bearing failure and combustion chamber failure experienced initially by PW1100 engines, which, he said, have been addressed. Airbus selected the PW1100 as the launch engine for the A320neo (new engine option) aircraft family, based on its fuel efficiency, noise reduction, and lower Carbon dioxide and NOX emissions. Pratt spent billions to develop the new geared engines and some issues are common, but that has meant severe headaches for Airbus and its airline customers.

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