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Aviation

A320 NEO engine issue: DGCA warns of 'harshest action' if need arises

August 29, 2019: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said that Pratt and Whitney, manufacturer of the PW1100G-JM engines fitted in the Airbus A320 NEO aircraft, has been directed to ensure more availability of spare engines.

Technical issues were noticed after the induction of the A320 NEO aircraft fitted with PW1100G engines into service.
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Technical issues were noticed after the induction of the A320 NEO aircraft fitted with PW1100G engines into service.

August 29, 2019: The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said that Pratt and Whitney, manufacturer of the PW1100G-JM engines fitted in the Airbus A320 NEO aircraft, has been directed to ensure more availability of spare engines for Indian operators to prevent grounding of aircraft due to removal of engines.

On August 28, DGCA reviewed the performance of 127 A320neo aircraft in India, alongwith executives of IndiGo, GoAir and Pratt and Whitney.

In a statement issued after the meeting, the DGCA assured stakeholders that "we are alive to the situation and will take the harshest action, should the need arise."

Low-cost carriers Indigo Airlines and GoAir operate an Airbus A320 NEO aircraft, fitted with two PW1100G-JM engines. Indigo Airlines inducted the first A320 NEO aircraft in March 2016 and at present, have 92 such aircraft in its fleet. GoAir inducted the first A320Neo aircraft in May 2016 and presently have 35 such aircraft in its fleet. At present, there are 127 such aircraft in India
and 436 aircraft operating globally.

Technical issues were noticed after the induction of the A320 NEO aircraft fitted with PW1100G engines into service. These included combustion chamber distress-Block B & Block C, #3 Bearing Pre Mod & Post Mod failures, N2 transient vibration, Low Pressure Turbine failure, High Pressure Compressor rear knife edge seal failures, and Gear Box failures.

"DGCA is continuously monitoring the performance of these engines and taking appropriate proactive measures as and when required including grounding of aircraft in the interest of safety and further remedial measure if necessitated, will be taken. The operation of these aircraft/ engines are considered safe globally," DGCA said in a statement.

The directorate mentioned that about 40 per cent of the domestic seat capacity of India is powered by Neo Engines and therefore, any knee-jerk reaction to completely shut their operations could have serious consequences.

"It is true that there have been cases of Air Turn Back, In Flight Shut down or Engine vibrations beyond the prescribed limits, but with strong mitigation measures in place and strict adherence to SOPs by the airlines, the problem is being contained. Whenever, there is a problem with the Engine, the aircraft is being grounded and the engine replaced," said the regulator.

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