March 21, 2018

Hundreds of passengers stranded as DGCA grounds 11 IndiGo, GoAir planes

13 March 2018, 09:47 | Cesar Cruz

India Grounds All Airbus A320 Neo Jets With Faulty Pratt Engines REUTERS Regis Duvignau

An Air India Airbus A320neo plane takes off in Colomiers near Toulouse France

Yesterday morning, a Lucknow-bound IndiGo flight from Ahmedabad had to make an emergency landing due to a mid-air engine failure.

Out of them, 32 are with IndiGo and 13 are with GoAir.

"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", the Press Trust of India quoted a source as saying.

The DGCA official said since then, there have been three cases of the in-flight shutdown of A-320 Neos fitted with one affected PW1100 engine.

Last month, Airbus said it had informed affected A320neo customers and operators of the problem, adding there are now 113 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320 neo aircraft flying with 18 airlines.

"Pratt and Whitney engine issues will take a while to get resolved", analysts at Mumbai-based brokerage Edelweiss Financial Services Ltd. wrote in a research note on Tuesday, recommending selling the stock. IndiGo grounded three A320neos following a directive from the European aviation safety agency in February, which took the total number of grounded 180-seater A320neos in India to 14. EASA ordered that A320neos with two affected engines should be grounded, while those with only one can continue to fly.

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Eight aircraft operated by IndiGo and three by GoAir will need to be grounded, it said. In an emailed statement to Bloomberg, the company said that it was working with its clients so that there is no disruption in operations and has already started delivering engines with the "upgraded configuration".

The assembled fuselage of an Airbus A320 narrow-body passenger twin-engine jet airliner moves across the Airbus SE factory floor in Hamburg, Germany. The IndiGo airlines also expressed regret after thousands of passengers who faced inconvenience during the immediate grounding. Budget airlines IndiGo and GoAir operated this brand of Airbus. Operators now using the A320neo have confirmed saving around 15 percent fuel-burn per seat. Indigo is both the largest current operator of the A320neo and the No. 1 customer.

The logo of Pratt & Whitney is pictured in San Diego, California April 21, 2016.

IndiGo said these were related to non-detection of chip, carbon seal lining or combustor chamber lining in Pratt & Whitney 1100 series engines.

"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", he added. It is different from the performance issues with the engine's carbon seal and combustion chamber witnessed by operators a year ago, which led to grounding of a number of aircraft.

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