Indian Airlines Likely To Miss A320neo Engine Replacement Deadline

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Due to the lockdown in India, IndiGo and GoAir will likely miss the deadline to replace its Pratt & Whitney A320neo engines. India’s aviation regulator, the DGCA, had given airlines until May 30th to replace the engines, which have been involved in several incidents. Without an extension from the government, the airlines may have to ground their fleets just as India’s flight ban ends.

Indigo A320neo in the air
Without another extension, airlines may have to ground over a 100 A320neo’s. Photo: BriYYZ via Wikimedia Commons

Lockdown causing delays

India has been in lockdown since 25th March, which has significantly disrupted businesses across the country. The lockdown has forced employees to stay home and delayed any maintenance as airlines try to conserve cash. This has resulted in airlines not being able to replace the engines by May 30th, as directed by the DGCA.

GoAir, Airbus, A320neo
GoAir and IndiGo are the largest operators of the A320neo. Photo: Airbus

The lockdown has also been accompanied by an international and domestic flight ban. This has left airlines in a lurch, forcing them to drastically cut costs and park their fleets. It is possible that IndiGo and GoAir opted to put off these expensive engine repairs until planes were in the air again. However, issues around the P&W engines have been around for a while, raising concerns about whether these planes will be allowed to fly again without repairs.

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Engine issues continue to mount

The Pratt & Whitney PW1000G is an engine type commonly used on the A320neo by carriers worldwide. In the last year, the type has suffered from engine failure mainly during takeoff. Incidents have occurred multiple times, with airlines such as IndiGo, GoAir, and Lufthansa. India has seen a large share of these incidents, which has been attributed to the warm climate, prompting the government to order a replacement the engines or face aircraft groundings.

Airbus-A220-Engine-Failure-Cause
The A320neo is not the only aircraft with P&W engines facing issues, the A220 has seen engine problems too. Photo: TJDarnstadt via Wikimedia Commons.

These repeated issues have forced airlines to ground some aircraft until engines can be removed and replaced. IndiGo, last year, decided to order CFM engines instead, possibly due to the repeated issues with the P&W engines. Carriers around the world have repeatedly raised concerns about the P&W engines, which has led to many airlines rethinking purchases. The issue has not been limited to the A320neo either, with both the A220 and A321neo also suffering similar issues, possibly pointing to a larger issue with the engine type.

Overall

As Indian airlines prepare for a possible resumption of flights in early June, it will be imperative that their entire fleet can operate. If the DGCA order planes with the P&W engines grounded, it could have a significant impact on airlines. While airlines will likely not use their entire fleet once flying starts, they will need to ramp up operations at some point. The next week will be crucial as airlines wait for the DGCA’s decision with bated breath.

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What do you think about the Pratt and Whitney engine issue? Should airlines continue using this variant? Let us know in the comments below.

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