11 A320neos grounded after 3rd mid-air scare in 2 weeks

The decision comes hours after an A320 neo aircraft of IndiGo suffered engine failure mid-air and made an emergency landing at Ahmedabad airport.

NEW DELHI:

Aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation today grounded 11 A320 neo aircraft powered by a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines following instances of engine failures during flights.

 

Of these, eight are operated by IndiGo and three by GoAir.

 

The decision comes hours after an A320 neo aircraft of IndiGo suffered engine failure mid-air and made an emergency landing at Ahmedabad airport.

 

Citing safety of aircraft operations, the DGCA said, A320 neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect.

 

"Both IndiGo and GoAir have been told not to refit these engines, which are spare with them in their inventory," the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a release.

 

The regulator would be in touch with the stakeholders and review the situation in due course and when the issue is addressed by European regulator EASA and P&W, it added.

 

Earlier in the day, Civil Aviation Secretary R N Choubey had said that an appropriate decision would be taken today.

 

On February 9, EASA had issued an emergency airworthiness directive for A320 neo planes fitted with PW1100 engines having a particular serial number.

 

The directive followed instances of the engines shut-down during flights and rejected take-offs involving the A320 neo family aircraft.

 

On February 13, DGCA had said that it was monitoring engine glitches to ensure that safety is not compromised at any time.

 

On February 21, P&W said it has come out with a revised configuration to address the latest problem in some of its engines powering A320 neo planes.

 

As many as  69 instances of engine failure were reported by IndiGo in just 18 months till September 2017. 

 

Air safety expert Capt Mohan Ranganathan said, “The DGCA shouldn’t have waited this long to ground the aircraft. It’s time we realised that passenger safety is more important than commercial requirements.” 

 

IndiGo grounded three A320neos following a directive from the European aviation safety agency in February, which took the total number of grounded 180-seater A320neos in India to 14. 

 

On February 9, the European civil aviation regulator red-flagged PW1100 engines manufactured mid-2017 onwards. Its directive read: “Several occurrences of engine in-flight shutdown and rejected takeoff have been reported on certain A320 neo family aeroplanes… preliminary findings indicate that the affected engines are more susceptive to inflight shutdown. This condition, if not corrected, could lead to dual engine shutdown.” 


 


 


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