The airline did not specify how many flights or how many bookings would be impacted by this move.
GoAir, the country’s fourth-largest airline, has temporarily suspended some flights due to delay in aircraft and engine deliveries from Pratt & Whitney and Airbus. Over the past two weeks, the airline has undertaken unscheduled cancellations on account of this. “We have been informed by our business partners Airbus and Pratt & Whitney of their inability to deliver previously promised aircraft and engines through March 9, 2020 that are required to support our current growth. As a result, we have been forced to temporarily suspend certain flights that are part of our network, schedule and open for sale,” the airline spokesperson said on Thursday.
The airline did not specify how many flights or how many bookings would be impacted by this move. “Last two weeks, we have had to do unscheduled and knee-jerk cancellations due to the non-availability of aircraft. What we are doing now is, to not get into a situation where there are knee-jerk (cancellations)… till March 9, till we get all the aircraft and engines promised to us, we will cancel certain flights, depending on our daily schedule,” the spokesperson said.
Frustrated customers have taken to social media platforms for redressal of the sudden flight cancellations. The airline has cancelled some flights in routes including Hyderabad-Cochin, Cochin-Delhi, Lucknow-Ahmedabad and Bengaluru-Indore, according to passengers’ posts on micro-blogging website Twitter. Passengers claimed on social media that the airline’s helplines have been unable to address their concerns.
“Despite our best efforts, we realise that our flight suspensions may inconvenience our customers, which we regret and profusely apologize. We expect – with the support of Airbus and Pratt & Whitney – to reinstate these flights and operate at the earliest opportunity,” the airline spokesperson said. In response to FE’s queries, an Airbus spokesperson said the company “is supporting the engine maker to maintain the schedule for engine deliveries and support GoAir’s smooth operations.” Pratt & Whitney did not respond to FE’s email queries.
In case of unplanned cancellations, airlines are mandated to inform the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The DGCA has been “in touch with the airline on a daily basis and monitoring the situation,” a senior official told FE. Over the last month, GoAir has had to ground several aircraft. “Already seven or eight aircraft of GoAir are grounded due to the engine issue with Pratt & Whitney engines, now with the delay, they have additional logistical issues. They have been keeping DGCA informed and we are in touch,” the official said.
GoAir has a firm order with Airbus of 114 aircraft deliveries. “Our currently published schedule incorporates a conservative view of aircraft and engine deliveries as provided by Airbus and Pratt & Whitney to minimize, or eliminate, the need for flight cancellations in the future,” the spokesperson said.
The DGCA has also mandated that Pratt & Whitney’s engines on Airbus A320neos that have operated for over 3,000 hours need to be replaced by May end, and at least one of the two unmodified engines per aircraft needs to be replaced by March. GoAir has 56 Airbus A320neos. The DGCA directive came after several incidences of in-flight engine shutdowns and vibrations of these aircraft.