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DGCA Orders IndiGo to Replace All Pratt Engines on Airbus A320neo Planes by January 31

The inflight incidents have caused "serious concern" and the decision to order the engines be replaced was taken after "considerable deliberations", said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).


Updated:November 1, 2019, 6:16 PM IST
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The logo of IndiGo Airlines is pictured on passenger aircraft on the tarmac in Colomiers near Toulouse, France, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/Files
Image for representation. (Reuters)

New Delhi: IndiGo must replace all Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engines on its fleet of 97 twin-engined Airbus A320neo family aircraft with new P&W power units, India's air safety watchdog said on Friday 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 Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement.

"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 the engines would need to be replaced by January 31, 2020.

IndiGo is Airbus' biggest client for A320neo planes.

While the United Technologies' Pratt & Whitney engines are fuel efficient there have been issues since they entered into service in 2016, forcing the airline to ground its planes several times. The groundings have cost IndiGo, which last month posted its biggest-ever quarterly loss after being forced to lease aircraft to replace planes grounded with engine issues.

The DGCA on Monday ordered IndiGo and domestic rival GoAir to modify 29 Airbus A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines within 15 days to avoid them being grounded.

The DGCA said planes fitted with Pratt & Whitney 1100 series engines that have clocked more than 2,900 hours must have at least one modified engine, impacting 16 of IndiGo's planes.

In its statement on Friday, the DGCA said 7 more of IndiGo's planes have been found to have the same issue taking the total to 23. It has asked the airline to replace at least one engine on these 23 planes by Nov. 19. It would then need to replace both engines on its entire fleet of A320neo and A321neo planes by January 31, 2020.

DGCA chief Arun Kumar, who was recently appointed to the position, is making the right decisions relating to safety, said Kapil Kaul at consultancy CAPA.

"This gives time for these engine changes to be completed and yet remains firm on safety," said Kaul, adding that Pratt & Whitney would need to ensure that all engines are replaced by the deadline.

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