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.