Wednesday, March 14, 2018

IndiGo, GoAir cancel 48 flights as A320neo engine issue haunts airlines

Budget carrier IndiGo on Wednesday cancelled as many as 42 domestic flights after aviation regulator DGCA grounded 11 A320neo aircrafts fitted with a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines. India's largest airline by market share said the flights that have been cancelled on March 14 were bound for Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur, Srinagar, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Delhi, Dehradun, Amritsar, Bengaluru and Hyderabad, among others.

The Wadia Group-promoted low-cost carrier GoAir, which operates 230-odd flights daily, has also cancelled six flights on today due to the grounding of three of its A320neo planes. In an announcement on its website, GoAir said it would cancel 18 flights, including 8 daily ones, from March 15 to 24. These include flights from Cochin, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Kolkata.

The aviation sector in the country may remain affected with IndiGo and GoAir likely to face more disruptions in the coming weeks. Though the US-based aircraft engine maker had proposed a fix for the Pratt & Whitney's engine troubles but the two low-cost airlines may have to wait till June to get the replacements.

Launched in December 2010, Airbus A320neo (new engine option) is one of the fastest-selling aircraft in history. As compared to the previous narrow-body jets from Airbus, A320neo is more efficient - consuming 15 per cent less fuel, have lower CO2 emissions and significantly reduced noise footprint. These qualities attracted airlines across the world to introduce A320neos in their fleet, including 574 orders from GoAir and IndiGo.

IndiGo, which operates 1,000-odd flights per day, has had to replace Pratt & Whitney engines on its 32 A320 Neo aircraft at least 69 times in the period May 2016-November 2017. On an average, IndiGo flies four out of every 10 Indians. Of the total 11 A320neo aircrafts that have been grounded due to faulty engines, eight belong by IndiGo.
IndiGo has been struggling with the Pratt & Whitney engines in the newest A320 Neo aircraft ever since they were first inducted in February, 2016. Greg Hayes, chairman of Pratt & Whitney's parent UTC, responded to the issue in the post-earnings call in September, saying the company remains, "on track to certify a combustor upgrade to incorporate into new engines."
IndiGo has been struggling with the Pratt & Whitney engines in the newest A320 Neo aircraft ever since they were first inducted in February, 2016. Greg Hayes, chairman of Pratt & Whitney's parent UTC, responded to the issue in the post-earnings call in September, saying the company remains, "on track to certify a combustor upgrade to incorporate into new engines.
"According to a Bloomberg report, the Pratt & Whitney proposed plan had called for the replacement of faulty engines by June requiring some planes to fly with one affected engine for almost three more months. Of the 11 newly grounded aircrafts, as many as five may be able to recommence flying by swapping engines between affected planes, it said.
14/03/18 Business Today

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