DGCA cracks the whip, grounds 8 IndiGo, 3 GoAir flights with faulty engines; passengers stranded
Citing safety of aircraft operations, the DGCA said, A320 neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect
New Delhi: Aviation regulator DGCA on Monday grounded 11 A320 neo aircraft powered by a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines following instances of engine failures during flights. Of these, 8 are operated by IndiGo and 3 by GoAir.
The decision comes hours after an A320 neo aircraft of IndiGo suffered engine failure mid-air and made an emergency landing at Ahmedabad airport. Citing safety of aircraft operations, the DGCA 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," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a release.
The regulator would be in touch with the stakeholders and review the situation in due course and when the issue is addressed by European regulator EASA and P&W, it added. arlier in the day, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey had said that an appropriate decision would be taken on Monday.
On 9 February, EASA had issued an emergency airworthiness directive for A320 neo planes fitted with PW1100 engines having a particular serial number. The directive followed instances of the engines shut-down during flights and rejected take-offs involving the A320 neo family aircraft.
On 13 February, DGCA had said that it was monitoring engine glitches to ensure that safety is not compromised at any time. On 21 February, P&W said it has come out with a revised configuration to address the latest problem in some of its engines powering A320 neo planes.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded across the country due to the cancellation. "Hundreds of passengers were stranded after a number of flights were cancelled by both IndiGo and GoAir in the wake of some aircraft going out of operations due to the DGCA order," a source said.
According to the source, an aircraft on average operates seven to eight trips a day and considering that 11 aircraft have been grounded, the number of cancelled flights could easily touch around 80-90 besides the cascading delays.
"Since the grounding is with immediate effect, it has sent our operations for a toss. The schedule and network are being reworked to accommodate the flights, which are to be operated by these planes," an airline official said.
"It is just not about the cancelled flights but also about the cascading effects on other flights as one cancellation from departing airport leads to subsequent cancellations," the airline source explained.
"The affected passengers would be accommodated on other flights on our network," IndiGo said in a statement.
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Since suspension of international flights in March, over 2,500 repatriation flights by foreign carriers to take stranded passengers to/from India have been approved, DGCA added
The remarks have come days after private carrier IndiGo said it would lay off 10 percent of its workforce due to COVID-19-induced economic crisis