Airbus halts some deliveries, tests after engine snag

Kelvin Reese
February 15, 2018

"We are working with Airbus and our customers to minimise any operational disruption", it said.

"Following a new issue identified on a limited number of recently delivered Pratt & Whitney GTF engines affecting the high pressure compressor aft hub, immediate actions were launched without delay..."

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.

Seventeen jets operated by Indigo and rival Go Airlines India Ltd are impacted by the issue, Airbus said in the statement.

As many as 11 of the 113 Pratt-powered A320neos delivered by Airbus have been grounded, according to people familiar with the matter, with 43 in-service engines affected in total, the report said. The disclosure of new problems with the Pratt engines late last week marks a blow for the A320neo, Airbus's best-selling plane.

The engine issue has been linked to "several" reports of "in-flight shutdown", European officials say.

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P&W's Purepower GTF engine family powers all the new generation single aisle passenger jets except the Boeing 737 MAX.

An IndiGo spokesperson said: "IndiGo confirms receiving the recommendations by Pratt & Whitney as well as the European Aviation Safety Agency with respect to the A320neo aircraft powered by PW1100G-JM engines".

IndiGo and GoAir are the two domestic carriers that operate A320neo planes powered by P&W engines.

EASA's safety bulletin also bans airlines from using A320neo jets on extended trips over water or isolated areas when one of the engines comes from the suspect batch. In late January and early February, four of these modified engines "did not perform as anticipated", it said. Customers can choose between the Pratt & Whitney model and a type built by the CFM joint venture between General Electric Co and France's Safran SA.

"Our precautionary measure of grounding the three aircraft resulted in cancellations of some of our flights".

IndiGo said Saturday that it cancelled some flights after the European Aviation Safety Agency warned of a new issue with the engines and said it was investigating. "Pratt & Whitney is working with Airbus to implement the remediation plans set forth in its all operator transmission", engine maker Pratt & Whitney said in a statement.

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