Tuesday, November 26, 2019

IndiGo hits another turbulence as India’s regulator goes after planes with faulty engines

India’s largest airline by market share, IndiGo, is facing fresh hurdles as it looks to expand.
Sector regulator, directorate general of civil aviation (DGCA), yesterday (Nov. 25) instructed the airline to gradually stop operating its older Airbus A320 and 321Neo aircraft with glitch-prone engines. The engines, supplied by US-based Pratt & Whitney, are prone to damage and can shut down mid-flight, according to DGCA.
“Every aircraft added to (IndiGo’s) existing fleet should lead to one of those with unmodified engines to be grounded and the new aircraft may be operated on the same schedule as was being operated by the grounded aircraft.”
A failure to do so will result in large-scale cancellation of flights from Jan. 31 due to grounded aircraft, the regulator warned. “We may find ourselves in a situation in which we remain saddled with a large number of aircraft with unmodified engines and operating on a schedule approved by us.”
IndiGo confirmed the latest development and said it is trying to fix the issue. “IndiGo is working with P&W and Airbus to… meet the DGCA guidelines,” it said in a statement, adding that its current schedule will remain “intact.”
IndiGo was one of the first Indian airlines to introduce the Airbus A320Neo to its fleet in 2016, and ever since, it has suffered multiple glitches both mid-air and on-ground. In the last year, IndiGo has witnessed 13 such incidents, including four just last month.

In an order on Nov. 1, DGCA had asked IndiGo to replace all older versions of P&W engines in its Airbus A320Neo aircraft with new ones, following a spate of recent inflight engine shutdowns that caused “serious concern.”
GoAir is the only other Indian carrier that has P&W engines in its A320Neo aircraft.

The latest DGCA order may force IndiGo to go slow on its fast-paced expansion.

The airline has been ordering new aircraft and aggressively launching new routes. Last month, IndiGo placed an order for 300 Airbus A320Neo jets. However, it said that it is yet to decide on the choice of engine manufacturer—P&W or CFM, which is jointly owned by France’s Safran and US-based General Electric.
26/11/19 Niharika Sharma/Quartz

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