Airbus Identifies New Engine Problem on the A320neo Family

An Indi Go airlines’ aircraft taxis at Mumbai's Chhatrapathi Shivaji International Airport

As a result of the grounding, IndiGo said, some of its flights have been cancelled.

On Friday, Europe's air safety authority EASA issued an "emergency airworthiness directive" saying that "several occurrences of inflight shutdown and rejected takeoff have been reported" with the single-aisle aircraft. "But we feel it was the best decision in the interest of our safe and reliable operations", IndiGo said in a statement.

The problem could become much bigger if the engine supplier cannot find a quick fix, as the delivery schedule of future A320neo aircraft will likely be seriously affected in that case. Airbus has issued an Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) providing instructions "to de-pair the affected engines and discontinue [ETOPS] for aircraft fitted with affected engines", according to EASA.

Meanwhile, Pratt & Whitney said the problem, related "to the knife edge seal in the High Pressure Compressor aft hub, " which affects "a limited subpopulation" of its PW1100G-JM engines. "As soon as IndiGo learnt of these developments, IndiGo had proactively withdrawn the three A320neo aircraft from service w.e.f. 9th of February", said the statement.

"This is something done hand-in-hand with the regulators to put some teeth behind the recommendations that we made", an Airbus spokesperson said. "Some have chose to put off their delivery and others have not".

"The efforts of both companies are directed to support customers and operators to minimise any disruption", Airbus says, referring to itself and P&W.

Airbus says around one-third of the in-service fleet of A320neos and A321neos has those engines installed so far, 11 of which are understood to have all two engines of the problematic standard and 21 just one of them. "In full and complete compliance with the requirements, none of GoAir aircraft have two of these engines on the same aircraft", it said, adding that no aircraft is required to be grounded.

According to commentators, the problem with a core part of the engine comes as the latest in a series of setbacks suffered by the company with its geared turbofan engines.

The airline added that passengers affected due to flight cancellations have been accommodated in "our other connections and flights of other airlines".

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