Airbus A320neo delivery pause following PW1100G engine issues

Airbus A320neo delivery pause following PW1100G engine issues

Airbus A320neo delivery pause following PW1100G engine issues

Low-priced carrier IndiGo, the country's biggest airline, has grounded three of its Airbus A320 new engine option (neo) aircraft, following a safety alert from the European aviation regulator EASA over some variants of the Pratt and Whitney engines used globally. Airbus selected the PW1100 as the launch engine for the A320neo (new engine option) aircraft family, based on its fuel efficiency, noise reduction, and lower Carbon dioxide and NOX emissions.

The problem applies to a batch of recently delivered geared turbofan engines with serial number P770450 and after, the European Aviation Safety Agency states in a 9 February emergency airworthiness directive.

A senior official of Indigo confirmed receiving the recommendations by Pratt & Whitney as well as EASA with respect to the A320neo aircrafts powered by PW1100G-JM engines.

Pratt & Whitney had no immediate comment on the latest Airbus decision.

ETOPS certification allows twin engine aircraft to fly straight, rather than flying close to airports for diversion in case of an engine trouble. India's biggest airline and another budget carrier use A-320 Neos powered by PW engines.

The issue is the latest in a string of problems that have bedeviled the GTF program.

"We are honoured by the continuing confidence that SWISS has placed in Pratt & Whitney and in the GTF engine", said Chris Calio, President, Commercial Engines, Pratt & Whitney.

The A320neo's planned 2015 entry into service was pushed into 2016 because of GTF issues, and both Airbus and Bombardier have blamed Pratt for A320neo-family and CSeries aircraft delivery delays as Pratt & Whitney struggled to ramp up production as fast as needed and as fixes to address reliability and durability shortfalls were simultaneously introduced. It is in the midst of increasing output and last week said it may speed up further.

A statement from IndiGo on Saturday said the precautionary measure of grounding the three aircraft "resulted in cancellations of some of our flights". It is also said extended-range, twin-engine operations (ETOPS) can online be performed with two unaffected engines. "The passengers have also been given choice of full refund as well", the statement added.

EASA says several occurrences of engine IFSD and RTO have been reported on certain Airbus A320neo family aircraft, the A320neo and the larger A321neo. The root cause remains under investigation, but the preliminary findings suggest that engines with the aft hub modification are "more susceptible" to an in-flight shutdown, EASA adds.