In a major relief, budget carrier IndiGo may get an extension for the deadline to replace the Pratt & Whitney engines of its planes, said a news report.
The aviation regulator, Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), is expected to give more time beyond January next year to replace all old Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines on about 100 Indigo Airbus 320 (neos) and the move may reduce inconvenience to passengers and extend a big relief to the airline, said a report in The Economic Times.
The DGCA would consider the extension of time to IndiGo after assessing the status in the middle of January next year, the report said citing the director-general (DG) of the regulator, Arun Kumar.
“What we know by now is that it will take more time than envisaged in view of the involvement of various stakeholders and the mobilization time,” Arun Kumar was quoted as saying in the report.
Last month, the DGCA had instructed IndiGo to ground an old A320neo family aircraft with an unmodified PW engine for every new A320neo plane added to its fleet to prevent large-scale cancellation of flights from 31 January onwards.
The aviation regulator had issued the directions in view of the 31 January deadline given by it to IndiGo to replace all unmodified PW engines on its 97 A320neo family aircraft or face grounding of planes.
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.
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.
Early last month, the aviation regulator had ordered IndiGo to replace 97 twin-engined Airbus A320neo family aircraft with new PW power units following recent inflight engine shutdowns.
The incidents have caused “serious concern” and the decision to order the engines be replaced was taken after “considerable deliberations,” the DGCA had said.
“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.
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.
IndiGo, the country's largest airline in terms of market share, would induct long-range A321XLRs in addition to A320neos and A321neos.
Announcing the firm order to purchase 300 more aircraft, IndiGo had said it would be "one of Airbus' largest aircraft orders ever with a single airline operator".
— With inputs from agencies
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Updated Date: Dec 20, 2019 13:02:16 IST