Supply chains and production lines got impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in turn, disturbed the process, DGCA said.
Indian aviation regulator, DGCA, on Monday extended the deadline for IndiGo and GoAir to replace all the 60 unmodified Pratt and Whitney (PW) engines on their A320neo planes from May 31 to August 31, as supply chain has been impacted due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Moreover, the regulator has instructed both the airlines to only use those planes that have modified PW engines on them.
The PW engine-powered A320 neo planes in IndiGo and GoAir fleets have been facing glitches both mid-air and on-ground since their induction way back in 2016. On January 13, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had said the unmodified PW engines do contain an “unsafe condition, which is prone to undesirable outcomes” and therefore, need to be dispensed with.
On Monday, the regulator said, “We took a call a couple of days back and instructed both the airlines. Both taken together about 60 engines are yet to be replaced and the obvious reason was the COVID-19 impact and resultant lockdowns.” Supply chains and production lines got impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in turn, disturbed the process, it added.
“Keeping all this in view, we have extended the deadline by three months; up to 31st of August 2020. Also, we instructed that for current times, aircraft with both engines modified should be flown and this should not be difficult as the curtailed operations are likely to last for some more time,” the regulator said.
Four Air Turn Back (ATB)/Inflight Shut Down (IFSD) events were witnessed on Airbus A320Neo aircraft operated by Indigo in a week during October 2019 due to the failure of third stage LPT (low pressure turbine) blades of PW engines. On January 13, the regulator had extended the deadline of replacing all unmodified PW engines on A320neo planes to May 31 from January 31.
India resumed its domestic passenger flights from May 25 after a gap of two months due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. However, international passenger flights continue to remain suspended in the country. The novel coronavirus has infected more than 1.9 lakh people and killed around 5,300 people in India till now.