IndiGo’s wings clipped: Aviation regulator says slow down, your engine failures are your fault

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Updated: December 2, 2019 4:57:10 PM

Budget carrier IndiGo has put a cap on its take-off thrust after aviation watchdog scrutiny found issues with only IndiGo’s Pratt and Whitney engines.

DGCA, Indigo, A320neo, PW engines, DGCA exercises, GoAir, A320neo family aircraftOn November 1, the DGCA had told IndiGo to replace PW engines under both wings of 97 A320neo family aircraft “at all costs” by January 31 or they would be grounded.

Budget carrier IndiGo has put a cap on its take-off thrust after aviation watchdog scrutiny found issues with only IndiGo’s Pratt and Whitney engines. While both IndiGo and GoAir deploy same type of P&W engines, IndiGo flights are susceptible to mid-flight stallings because the airline was found to be using maximum thrust of the engine during take-off in order to save fuel, Bloomberg had earlier reported. However, the airline has now put a limit on take-off thrust, ET Now reported. Revving up the engine to full thrust wears the engine down but saves fuel. On the other hand, Go Air uses an alt-climb approach that applies less thrust, Bloomberg cited sources as saying. 

Sor far, IndiGo has reported 13 engine shutdowns following which, DGCA had asked both GoAir and IndiGo to replace their faulty engines. The airlines have been served with a notice demanding that the carriers fix faulty engines before January next year. Aviation regulator had also asked IndiGo to replace A320neo engines and also threatened grounding of an entire fleet if the airline fails to meet the deadline. IndiGo operates about 100 planes which are fitted with Pratt and Whitney engines. Addressing the same, Ronojoy Dutta, CEO, IndiGo had said that the deadline for changing entire fleet is challenging, adding that the airline is still confident that it will be able to meet the earlier deadline of November 19 to change 23 engines on immediate basis, he had told CNBC TV-18 in an interview. 

However, the company later requested for a year long extension on the deadline. DGCA denied the same and added that the previous deadline of 31 January 2020 remains, Bloomberg reported.

IndiGo, which is the market leader in domestic aviation, is prevented from adding new flights until the issue is resolved. IndiGo is the biggest customer of European planemaker Airbus and has 730 of the latest model of A320 neo on order. The airline looks to expand its network beyond cities such as Istanbul to destinations including London.

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