IndiGo has completed engine replacement exercise for 128 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo aircraft, ahead of the Aug 31 deadline, sources close to the development told CNBC-TV18.
In October and November 2019, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation had found issues in the low-pressure turbine of the PW-run A320neos. There were incidents of LPT breakage, leading to engine vibration and the return of aircraft to the ground. As a result, DGCA had asked IndiGo and GoAir, the two operators of such aircraft in India, to install modified engines.
As of August 27, IndiGo has installed 256 modified engines on its 128 A320neos and has completed engine replacement exercise, officials said.
GoAir is yet to install modified engines on its A320neos which run on Pratt & Whitney engines.
“GoAir is yet to replace engines of around 20 A320neo aircraft,” officials added.
It is important to note that as the government has currently mandated airlines to operate with only 45 percent capacity due to COVID-19, GoAir is operating a reduced fleet and hence, is using only those PW-run A320neos which have both engines modified, officials further added.
It is expected that in view of this scenario, DGCA may extend the deadline for GoAir to complete engine replacement exercise.
About 40 percent of the domestic seat capacity of India is powered by Pratt & Whitney neo engines.
Pratt & Whitney has been in the spotlight in the Indian aviation space since 2016 when India's largest airline IndiGo started facing delivery delays in A320neo aircraft amid issues related to cooling down and a start-up time of the engine, reliability, combustion chamber lining, oil seal and fan blades.
In fact, in 2018, India's aviation regulator DGCA grounded as many as 14 Airbus A320neos following warning of a potential in-flight shutdown in a sub-category of its Pratt & Whitney engines.