Tuesday, January 05, 2021

DGCA allows Pratt-powered A320neos allowed to fly longer overseas routes

New Delhi: India has now allowed the Pratt & Whitney (PW)-powered Airbus A320neo family of aircraft to fly longer overseas routes where a diversion airport is more than 60 minutes away on any point of the flight routing. In India this combination is used by IndiGo — the world’s largest customer for the new engine option (neo) A320/21s — and GoAir.

“Till date, we have not heard of any problem with PW modified engines in any part of the world and therefore the time seems right for taking this call (extending the 'extended diversion time operations” or EDTO’) from 60 to 90 minutes,” said a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) official.

The regulator is also planning to allow these planes and the CFM-powered A320neos of Vistara and IndiGo to fly to Port Blair, lifting a restriction imposed about two years ago.

In the event of an engine shutdown or failure, twin engine jets can safely land on one engine at a nearest airport. The maximum allowed time within which that can be done is set by EDTO requirements and that determines routings for that type of aircraft and the sectors on which they can operate.

So far India had allowed PW-powered A320neos an EDTO of 60 minutes due to the snags with the earlier generation of those engines. Once PW found a fix to the fault-lines causing the snags and introduced modified engines that are so far free from the previous generation troubles, IndiGo had sought increasing the EDTO from 60 to 90 minutes.

This clearance, from Indian carriers’ perspective, is necessary to operate their fuel efficient PW-powered single aisle A320/21neos on certain overseas routes like Kerala to Gulf. Till now when this nod was not given, they had to deploy the less fuel efficient older version of A320s (Ceos) on these sectors.

Also neos were barred from flying to Port Blair to avoid a parking stand from getting occupied at this small airport in case of an engine snag and an A320neo getting grounded there.

05/01/21 Times of India

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