IndiGo’s big challenge: CEO expresses difficulty in meeting this crucial deadline

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Published: November 7, 2019 2:24:31 PM

Budget carrier IndiGo has said that it feels the deadline for changing A320neo engines of its entire fleet is challenging.

INDIGO FLIGHTIndiGo has grounded several planes in the past due to the issue with P&W engines.

Budget carrier IndiGo has said that it feels the deadline for changing A320neo engines of its entire fleet is challenging. However, the airline is confident that it will be able to meet the November 19 deadline for changing 23 of its Pratt and Whitney engines, Ronojoy Dutta, CEO, IndiGo said, CNBC TV-18 reported. The aviation watchdog had earlier directed the airline to fix all of its A320neo engines after multiple incidents of mid-air stallings. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has threatened grounding of the entire fleet of IndiGo’s A320neo if the airline does not meet the deadline of 31 January 2020. IndiGo operates about 97 A320neos. The aviation watchdog had also asked the airline to fix about 23 aircraft as soon as 19 November.

There has been a long standing issue of engine failures of Pratt & Whitney company and three incidents of stallings were reported in October itself. However, the issue is not exclusive to IndiGo and the DGCA has asked both IndiGo and GoAir to fix their aircraft. Both of them have been served a 15-day deadline to replace the faulty engines failing which, the A320neos are bound to be grounded. IndiGo has grounded several planes in the past as well due to the issue with P&W engines. IndiGo now runs about half of the 97 Neo fleet with modified engines while the rest of the fleet still runs on the troubled P&Ws. 

Meanwhile, IndiGo has shared a one-way codeshare agreement with Qatar Airways which will allow the Middle Eastern airline to get more access to the fast-growing Indian aviation market. The last time India had extended the capacity rights to Qatar carriers was in 2009. A codeshare agreement allows an airline to sell tickets on the partner carrier’s flights. 

India is a lucrative market for Gulf airlines such as Qatar Airways and Emirates as millions of Indians work in Gulf Arab states. Also, travellers from India use the Gulf to connect to Europe and North America. The latest codeshare agreement with IndiGo will help Qatar Airways to place its code on IndiGo flights between Doha and Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad, the companies announced in a statement. Qatar Airways is also looking to gain a stake in the airline. Akbar al-Baker, Chief Executive, Qatar Airways, has long talked of making an equity investment in IndiGo and confirmed his airline’s interest in IndiGo on Thursday. “We will wait … we are very keen on IndiGo, we are very keen to take a stake in IndiGo but I don’t think this is the right time to talk about it,” Reuters reported him as saying. 

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