DGCA extends deadline for IndiGo to replace all 135 unmodified Pratt and Whitney engines till 31 May

  • In November last year, the DGCA had told IndiGo to replace the PW engines in 97 A320neo aircraft at all costs by 31 January

  • The aviation regulator had said that incidents of inflight engine shutdowns caused serious concern and the decision to order the engines be replaced was taken after “considerable deliberations

  • In October last year, the DGCA had asked IndiGo to replace 16 A320neo planes' PW engines, which have been used for more than 2,900 hours

The country's largest airline, IndiGo, got a major relief when the aviation regulator, DGCA, extended the deadline for the budget carrier to replace all 135 unmodified Pratt and Whitney (PW) engines from 31 January to 31 May.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) stated on Monday that it believes that the unmodified PW engines do contain an "unsafe condition, which is prone to undesirable outcomes" and therefore, need to be dispensed with, reported PTI.

 DGCA extends deadline for IndiGo to replace all 135 unmodified Pratt and Whitney engines till 31 May

Representational image. Reuters

"Post DGCA order dated 1st November 2019, all stake holders i.e. the airline and the aircraft and the engine manufacturer have made significant efforts towards completion of the task. They have jointly and severally submitted a complete action plan, which finds the change of engines for the entire fleet feasible by the end of June 2020," said the regulator.

"It involves procurement of about 135 engines and month wise details have been worked out to achieve the goal. Needless to say, the timeline looks impressive if we recall that originally it was expected to be accomplished in 14 months i.e. from November 2019 to December 2020," it added.

However, DGCA felt that it can be compressed further and should be achievable by May 2020.

"Therefore, the revised timeline for complete removal of unmodified engines from the fleet is 31 May 2020. It is further laid down that no aircraft with unmodified engine in Indigo fleet shall be allowed to fly after that," said the regulator on Monday.

The PW engine-powered A320 neo planes in the fleets of IndiGo and GoAir have been facing glitches both mid-air and on-ground since their induction way back in 2016.

In December last year, there were reports that the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) might extend the deadline given to IndiGo to replace the PW engines of its planes beyond 31 January. Accordingly, the low-cost carrier would get more time to replace all old PW engines on about 100 Indigo Airbus 320 (neos).

In November last year, the DGCA had told IndiGo to replace the PW engines in 97 A320neo aircraft "at all costs" by 31 January or they would be grounded after the airline faced inflight engine shutdowns in the recent past.

The incidents have caused “serious concern” and the decision to order the engines be replaced was taken after “considerable deliberations,” the DGCA had stated.

“You will appreciate that four successive events have not happened ever before and therefore, we call for urgent and effective action. We regret the inconvenience but we need desperate measures to put things in order,” the DGCA said.

“This situation cannot be allowed to go on indefinitely,” it said, adding that the engines would need to be replaced by 31 January 2020.

The PW engine-powered A320 neo planes in the fleets of IndiGo and GoAir have been facing glitches both mid-air and on-ground since their induction way back in 2016.

The DGCA directive came after IndiGo faced four engine malfunctions in A320neo planes in November last year, which "has caused serious concern and resultant disruption".

In October last year, the DGCA had asked IndiGo to replace 16 A320neo planes' PW engines, which have been used for more than 2,900 hours, by 12 November but it found later that seven more aircraft are flying with such engines.

In October this year, IndiGo had placed an order to buy 300 Airbus 320neo family planes as the budget carrier continues with its ambitious growth plans.

While the price details were not disclosed, the order would be worth over $33 billion (over Rs 2.3 lakh crore) on the basis of catalogue price of A320neo plane that was published in 2018.

With a fleet of around 247 planes and a share of around 47 percent of the domestic air passenger market, IndiGo is India's largest airline.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 13, 2020 15:01:15 IST