DGCA grounds 11 A320 neo planes of IndiGo, GoAir over engine issue

Aviation watchdog DGCA on Monday ordered IndiGo and GoAir to immediately ground 11 A320 neo planes powered with a certain seri­es of Pratt & Whitney engi­n­es after three incidents of mid-air engine failures in less than a month.

Concerns over safety of such planes increased with another engine failure forci­ng emergency landing of Indi­Go flight at Ahmedabad ai­r­port on Monday, and the re­gulator has cracked the whip saying there is no concrete proposal in place at this stage to address the issue.

Fourteen A320 neo aircraft fitted with specific series of engines – 11 are opera­t­ed by IndiGo and three by GoAir – have now been gro­unded. Three IndiGo planes are already on the ground following the problem.

Citing safety of aircraft operations, DGCA (directo­rate ge­neral of civil aviation) said, A320 neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect.

“Both IndiGo and GoAir have been told not to refit th­e­se engines, which are spare with them in their inventory,” DGCA said in a release.

It said it would be in touch with stakeholders and review the situation in due course and when European regulator EASA addresses the issue and P&W.

A senior DGCA official said 8 aircraft of IndiGo wo­u­ld be grounded. “We are in receipt of the communication from DGCA and we sha­ll promptly comply with the directions. Upon implementation of the directive, IndiGo shall have 9 A320 neo aircraft on ground,” an IndiGo spokesperson said.

However, there is a mismatch between the number of grounded planes given by DGCA and IndiGo while cla­rity is awaited from the latter. “GoAir has received the directive from DGCA for immediate grounding of all late serial number PW GTF engines. We have complied immediately,” a GoAir spokes­pe­rson said.

In a statement, P&W sa­id, it is working closely with customers to minimise disr­u­ption. “The corrective acti­on has been approved and we have already begun to del­i­ver production engines wi­th the upgraded configurat­i­on. We are working to mitig­a­te the aircraft on ground (AoG) situation by the end of  second quarter,” it added.

Sources said the grounding of A320 neo aircraft wo­uld have an impact on the flight operations of IndiGo and GoAir. It is rare for the Indian regulator to ground aircraft and the latest one is at least only the third such instance in decades.

Back in 1990, A320 pla­nes operated by then Indian Airlines were grounded following a deadly crash that had killed 89 people.