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.
Aviation regulator DGCA calls urgent meeting with Indigo, GoAir to review performance of Airbus Neo aircraft
The DGCA has also requested P&W to supply spare engines to the airlines to expedite the process of replacing the old engines
IndiGo Airlines announced that its A320 Neo aircraft that operated on the Delhi-Srinagar route earlier in the day was temporarily grounded at Srinagar following detection of a hydraulic leak in an engine
The official said there are 13 aircraft in GoAir fleet in which both the PW engines have been used for more than 3,000 hours.