Now Turkish Airlines Is Having Problems With A321neo Pratt & Whitney Engines

Reports surfacing late last night suggest that Turkish Airlines is experiencing issues with the Pratt & Whitney engines fitted on some of its Airbus A321neos. As a result, three of the airline’s A321neos have been temporarily grounded for maintenance.

Turkish Airlines A321neo
Turkish Airlines has reportedly temporarily removed three of its Airbus A321neos from operation. Photo: John Taggart via Flickr

It looks like Turkish Airlines is the latest carrier in a lengthy list of airlines to suffer issues with their Pratt & Whitney engines. According to reports by Aeronews on Facebook, Turkish Airlines has been forced to temporarily remove three of its Airbus A321neos from operation so that engine maintenance can be carried out.

In total, Turkish Airlines operates a fleet of 15 Airbus A321neos, the first of which was delivered less than two years ago in July 2018. Of the three affected aircraft, one registered TC-LSD was delivered almost exactly a year ago on 22 February 2019.

Tweets posted on the HavArenaMedia Twitter account last night suggest that the three aircraft in question have been taken for maintenance due to damaged blade seals, which could potentially cause severe damage to the engine.

Not an isolated incident

In recent years both Rolls Royce and Pratt & Whitney, two of the ‘big three’ aero-engine manufacturers, have made headlines due to widespread issues with certain engines in their line-ups.

In the case of Pratt & Whitney, it’s been the PW1100G geared turbofan engine which has caused most of the trouble. The PW1100G has been fitted on a number of different aircraft, including the Airbus A320neo and the Airbus A321neo. The Airbus A220, which uses the PW1500G has had issues as well.

Turkish Airlines Airbus A321neo
Turkish Airlines’ Airbus A321neos are all less than two years old. Photo: Raimond Spekking via Wikimedia Commons

As a new generation turbofan engine, the model boasts significantly improved fuel efficiency over previous generation engines. The PW1100G was offered as one of the two ‘new engine options’ for the Airbus A320neo and the Airbus A321neo. The other option being CFM International’s LEAP-1A.

Other airlines which have experienced similar problems

Since the PW1100G went into service, there have been numerous small incidents that have forced many different airlines to remove their aircraft from operation in order for maintenance work to be carried out. The two airlines which have been affected more than any other are Indigo and GoAir, both of which operate in India.

Back in November, India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation ordered Indigo to replace the Pratt & Whitney engines on its entire Airbus A320neo fleet, which consists of 98 aircraft in total. Indigo had been suffering widespread engine failures across its Airbus A320neo fleet, but whilst other carriers had reported more issues than normal with the PW1100G, Indigo’s numbers were comparatively through the roof.

PW1100G
There have been a number of issues with the PW1100G engine. Photo: Bene Riobó via Wikimedia Commons

While India’s atmospheric conditions are hotter and more humid than most other regions, which may well affect engine performance, an investigation revealed that operating practices were likely the main cause of Indigo’s issues. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation discovered that Indigo’s pilots were throttling up too hard during take-off, which was damaging the PW1100G engines.

While it’s not on the same scale as Indigo’s case, the removal of the three Airbus A321neos from Turkish Airlines’ fleet highlights the underlying issues with the engines themselves.

Simple Flying has reached out to Turkish Airlines with a request for comment on its Airbus A321neos, and we’ll update this article once we receive more information.

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