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Despite engine troubles, IndiGo & GoAir’s A320neo aircraft unlikely to be grounded: DGCA

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Pratt & Whitney engines on Airbus A320neos have suffered several problems the world over. The civil aviation ministry is meeting Tuesday to review the situation.

New Delhi: Despite a glut of problems with their US-made Pratt & Whitney engines, Airbus’ A320neo aircraft are unlikely to be grounded in India, Director-General of Civil Aviation B.S. Bhullar told ThePrint.

“There are no plans as of now to ground the A320neo aircraft,” said Bhullar.

India’s top airline IndiGo and GoAir are among carriers all over the world who have suffered engine problems on Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo aircraft, forcing them to ground a few planes each.

Bearing this in mind, the Union Civil Aviation Ministry is holding a review meeting Tuesday to discuss the concerns, and could decide to ground all A320neos until corrective action is taken.

Also read: Indigo flight makes emergency landing in Kolkata after plane engulfed in mid-air smoke

Spate of incidents

The most recent incident of engine trouble was reported on 3 January, when IndiGo flight 6E-923 operating between Chennai and Kolkata returned to Chennai shortly after take-off due to a technical glitch.

“An IndiGo flight 6E-923 (Neo) operating Chennai-Kolkata route on 3 January 2019 returned to Chennai after take-off due to a technical caution noted by the crew,” an Indigo spokesperson had said.

“The crew followed the normal operating procedures and asked for a priority landing. There was no engine shutdown and no emergency landing was declared as per the report.”

A few weeks before this incident, another A320neo had to make an emergency landing in Kolkata following reports of smoke in the cabin.

Since 2016, when IndiGo introduced the A320neo aircraft with Pratt & Whitney engines into service, the airline has grounded about 20 planes due to engine issues — nine in 2017, three in February 2018 and eight in March 2018.

GoAir has also grounded three A320neos with Pratt & Whitney engines in 2018.

Also read: Govt to review IndiGo’s decision to charge for all seats selected through web check-in

Airbus A320neos and their engines

Airlines buying the Airbus A320neo (new engine option) family of aircraft have two engine options to choose from — the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G and the CFM International LEAP engines. Of the two, the CFM engines have proven to be more reliable, despite their own set of teething troubles.

Both engines promise to be about 15 per cent more fuel-efficient than their predecessors.

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