26 Nov 2019
Modify A320neo engines or ground planes: DGCA to IndiGo
Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Monday instructed budget carrier Indigo to replace its old A320neo aircraft, sporting unmodified Pratt and Whitney (P&W) engines, with new A320neo planes.
The DGCA reiterated its January 31 deadline to IndiGo to replace all unmodified P&W engines, linked to recent malfunctions, or face grounding of planes, causing "large-scale disruptions."
Here are more details.
Ground aircrafts with unmodified engines; replace with new planes: DGCA
In a fresh directive, the DGCA told the budget carrier to ground an old A320neo family aircraft with an unmodified Pratt and Whitney (P&W) engine for every new A320neo plane added to its fleet.
The airline has been instructed to replace all engines on its fleet of 97 A320neo aircraft by January 31, 2020, according to PTI.
'New aircraft will slip into role of one existing aircraft'
The DGCA said, "Now onwards, every aircraft that is added to the existing fleet, shall lead to one of those with unmodified engines to be grounded."
The airline regulator added, "The new aircraft will slip into the role of one existing aircraft with unmodified engines...The grounded aircraft can be allowed a fresh schedule once its P&W engines are replaced."
If unaddressed, DGCA will ground planes causing 'large-scale disruptions'
The DGCA noted that the efforts undertaken by IndiGo do not "instill enough confidence with regard to the timely completion of the said task."
The regulator warned that if the issue remains unaddressed, the DGCA will have no option but to ground all aircrafts with unmodified engines on January 31.
The move may cause "large-scale disruptions with its attendant consequences," the DGCA noted.
If not fixed, issue may lead to engine failure
To recall, in the last week of October, IndiGo faced four mid-air engine malfunctions in A320neo planes, causing "serious concern."
Taking note of an alert from US Federal Aviation Administration, the regulator said, "These conditions, if not addressed, could result in uncontained release of the LPT 3rd stage blades, failure of one or more engines, loss of thrust control, and loss of aircraft."
Earlier, DGCA told IndiGo to replace engines 'at all costs'
In light of the four malfunctions, the DGCA on November 1 told IndiGo to replace P&W engines under both wings of 97 A320neo family aircraft "at all costs" by January 31.
The DGCA also asked IndiGo to present a "complete action plan" on November 25 on how it would procure and replace P&W engines across its fleet.
DGCA directive to disrupt IndiGo's expansion plans
However, this may affect IndiGo's expansion plans as the new A320neo family aircraft, expected to join the airline's fleet soon, will ply on existing routes. IndiGo is India's largest airline with around 247 planes and 47% of the domestic air passenger market share.
Current schedule remains intact, says IndiGo
Meanwhile, IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, in a statement, said, "The current schedule remains intact." The airline added, "IndiGo is working with P&W and Airbus to adjust inflow of LPT (low-pressure turbine) 3rd stage modified engines to meet the DGCA guidelines."