IndiGo grounds three A320 neo planes on engine woes

IndiGo Withdraws Three A320 Neo Planes From Service Over Engine Alert

According to Pratt & Whitney, the latest issues do not involve engines for the Embraer E2 family and the Bombardier CSeries, but are limited to the Airbus application.

Technical issues with certain engines of IndiGo's A320neo planes had led to the grounding of many flights a year ago.

Airbus said the two companies were assessing the situation and the European Aviation Safety Agency had published an Emergency Airworthiness Directive.

In a statement, Pratt & Whitney said it is working with customers to resolve the issue, which affects the knife edge seal in the high pressure compressor aft hub on the engine.

Airbus says there are 113 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo aircraft flying with 18 customers.

The move will force airlines operating the A320neo with affected engines to ground some of their planes, it added.

The issue is the latest in a string of problems that have bedeviled the GTF program.

ETOPS certification allows twin engine aircraft to fly straight, rather than flying close to airports for diversion in case of an engine trouble. Industry sources say a total of four such incidents or inflight shutdowns have been reported so far, but the actual number could be higher.

"Our precautionary measure of grounding the three aircraft resulted in cancellations of some of our flights". Aircraft with one affected engine are restricted from certain extended-range flights. Both A320neos and A321neos are affected.

Airbus offers customers a choice of engines for the A320neo family, including the CFM International Leap-1A. Airbus has issued an Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) providing instructions "to de-pair the affected engines and discontinue [ETOPS] for aircraft fitted with affected engines", according to EASA.

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. The unit has been dogged by reports of GTF manufacturing delays and mechanical problems, although one Wall Street analyst said last month that it may transform into a significant profit driver.

Airbus said P&W is investigating the root cause of this new finding with the full support of it.

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