Notably, the civil aviation ministry is set review the frequent on-ground and mid-air glitches that the P&W engines, powering these planes, have been facing soon after their induction in early 2016.
The recurring glitches on the Pratt & Whitney-powered Airbus planes have forced the Wadia group-run budget carrier Goair to ground as many as seven A320 Neos, a source said Monday. The city-headquartered airline has 49 planes in the fleet and 30 of them are Airbus A320 Neos.
Notably, the civil aviation ministry is set review the frequent on-ground and mid-air glitches that the P&W engines, powering these planes, have been facing soon after their induction in early 2016. “Goair is unable to operate seven of its A320 Neos due to the P&W engine problems. Currently, these planes are grounded and awaiting engine replacements,” a source close to the development told PTI.
Most of these aircraft are grounded in Mumbai while some are parked in Delhi, the source said. A Goair spokesperson was not available for comments and queries sent to P&W remained unanswered. P&W engine woes had forced both Goair and the larger rival IndiGo (which operates 57 of such planes) to ground some of the A320 Neos on earlier occasions also.
During February and March last year, 14 planes — 11 of Indigo and three of Goair – were grounded by the aviation regulator DGCA following a series of mid-air engine shutdowns. Apart from these two carriers, Air India and Vistara also operate A320 Neos but they are powered by CFM engines. Despite repeated glitches forcing Airbus and P&W to monetarily compensate the operators for each grounding, neither the engine maker nor the plane maker could provide any lasting solution so far.
The government, on its part, has also not acted tough such as ordering grounding of the entire fleet with these engines unless all the issues are fixed. When asked whether the government would direct the airlines to stop taking deliveries of A320 Neos with P&W engines as long as glitches are not fixed permanently following yet another incident, aviation secretary RN Choubey had told PTI Saturday that “we have taken serious note and we will review it on Tuesday.”
However, the industry experts say its high time the government puts the safety of passengers first by ordering grounding of the entire fleet of A320 Neos and not on a peace-meal basis. The development came after a Kolkata-bound IndiGo flight from Chennai had to return mid-air on January 3 after engine glitches that was followed by “loud bang and sparks” and smoke leading to heavy vibrations of the engine.