In response to the deadline set by the aviation regulator Directorate general of civil aviation( DGCA) to mnodify faulty aircraft engines, IndiGo on Friday said the low-cost carrier currently operates on its fleet of 98 A320neo series with around 45 per cent of its engines modified.
On Friday, the DGCA served an ultimatum to two airlines – indigo and Go Air to modify their snag hit aircraft by November 19 failing which they would face action which included curtailing flying operations or grounding of aircraft.
In a statement, IndiGo said, “Last week, the DGCA had issued a directive according to which we are required to have at least one Low Pressure Turbine (LPT) 3 modified engine on aircraft which has one unmodified engine by November 19, 2019.”
“We are confident that we are able to meet this directive and sustain our current schedule,” IndiGo said.
The carrier also said, “We have also received the latest directive from the DGCA on November 1, 2019, which requires that all operating A320neo should have both engines with LPT3 modification installed for operation post January 31, 2020.”
“IndiGo currently operates on its fleet of 98 A320neo family with around 45 per cent of its engines modified,” IndiGo said.
The IndiGo further said that it was working with both P&W and the Airbus on mitigation so that it has enough modified spare engines by January 31, 2020.
“In the meantime, our schedule remains intact,” IndiGo said.
There have been several incidents of the A320neos having to make emergency landings due to either an engine stall or loud sounds and rattling emanating from the engines. The problem has been identified and the engine maker — American manufacturer Pratt & Whitney — has been producing modified engines to replace the snag-prone ones.
The DGCA directed that the airlines have to ensure that all the 97 A320neo aircraft in operation have to meet the condition of having both modified engines by January 31 failing which the airlines would be penalised.
Issuing fresh guidelines, the DGCA on Friday said, A new directive has been issued to one of our operators regarding Neo Engines and their ‘modification’.”
In the interim, DGCA has also asked IndiGo to replace P&W engines of 23 A320neo planes by November 19 or else they would be grounded. “Kindly note that after that none of these 23 aircraft, which does not have at least one LPT (low pressure turbine) modified engine on its wings, shall be allowed for commercial operation and their schedule will suitably be curtailed till this is accomplished,” the DGCA said.
The DGCA said, “In case, it is not done, such aircraft shall not be allowed to fly with unmodified engines. The airlines have been advised to stagger or defer future induction plan and procure sufficient number of modified engines to keep the existing fleet in operation.”
Last week, IndiGo was instructed by the regulator to change engines on 16 of its Airbus A320neos. This was after three instances of aircraft turning back between October 24 and October 26 in quick succession.
IndiGo has a fleet of 245 aircraft including 98 A320neos. The A320neos have been in news for the Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines which have been facing low-pressure turbine issues, main gearbox failure, and engine vibration.
The snags have resulted in schedule disruptions over a period of time.