India grounds all Airbus A320Neo jets with faulty Pratt engines

Mid-air engine failure DGCA grounds 11 A320 neo planes with Pratt & Whitney engines

"Upon implementation of the directive, IndiGo shall have a total of nine A320neo aircraft on ground", an IndiGo spokesperson said. The grounding could affect over 80 flights operated by the two budget airlines.

With this, all the A320neo aircraft with PW1100 engines beyond serial number 450 have been taken off operation in India. Both of the airlines have been asked to not use these same engines in their planes, even if they have them on spare. "There is no concrete proposal in place at this stage to address the issue", it added.

Following in-flight shut down in A320 neo fleet worldwide fitted with PW1100 engines (from serial number 450 and beyond), EASA, on February 9, had issued an emergency airworthiness directive. The order applied to eight IndiGo flights and three of GoAir, The Economic Times reported.

Pratt & Whitney said in an emailed statement that it's working closely with customers to minimize disruption and has already begun to deliver engines with the "upgraded configuration". The aircraft "experienced [a] technical glitch with its Number 2 engine", says the carrier. IndiGo had grounded at least seven of the jets by July past year, awaiting a fix for the engines.

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Under the Pratt plan, all defective components would be replaced by early June, requiring some planes to fly with one affected engine for nearly three more months. To this, the DGCA said that IndiGo's three aircraft with faulty engines were grounded last month but eight aircraft with only one faulty engine were allowed to operate with certain restrictions.

DGCA said it has not got a "firm commitment" from the USA engine manufacturer on addressing fresh safety concerns, which forced it to ground the fleet. The unilateral action is at odds with the European Aviation Safety Agency, the primary regulator for Airbus planes, which repeated guidance that the jets are safe if they have a single affected turbine.

The DGCA's significant decision also comes on a day when Suresh Prabhu took over the additional charge of Civil Aviation Ministry following the resignation of NDA ally TDP's leader Ashok Gajapathi Raju from the post last week.