Indian aviation regulator, The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) met with officials of Pratt & Whitney, IndiGo, GoAir and Airbus to review the frequent in-flight shutdown of engines which both the airlines are facing since the induction of the A320Neo planes in early 2016. The aviation watchdog has said that it will come out with additional security protocol within a week for these airlines who are facing Pratt & Whitney engine issues in their Airbus planes.
DGCA Meets with P&W, Airbus, IndiGo and GoAir Officials
The meeting was held on Tuesday, and since then, DGCA has come out with a statement, “Based on these latest interactions, DGCA will issue an Additional Directive relating to Safety Protocols within a week to the airlines concerned. The situation is being continuously monitored by DGCA as part of its safety oversight system.”
The authority informed that there have been 12 IFSDs (In-flight Shut Downs) of the Airbus A320Neo engines since their induction in the fleet of GoAir and IndiGo in early 2016. However, DGCA also noted that because of the A320Neo engines, India has averaged 0.02% IFSD per 1,000 engine flight hours, which is considerably lower than the strict global benchmark of 0.05 IFSD rates per 1,000 engine flight hours.
As per a PTI report previously, the recurring issues in the Pratt & Whitney engines on A320Neo planes had forced GoAir to ground 7 of its aircraft. Notably, the carrier has a fleet of 49 aircraft, out of which 30 are A320Neos. IndiGo, on the other hand, operates 57 of these planes.
Issue with Main Gear Box is Recent Phenomenon: P&W
An official statement from Pratt & Whitney also came as the engine manufacturer said, “Pratt & Whitney appreciated the thoughtful exchange of information with the ministry and DGCA. All parties are now aligned on the status of the GTF (Geared Turbofan) program in India.”
Informing about the issue that is plaguing these aircraft, DGCA said, “Most of these IFSDs and other related incidents have happened due to failure of ‘Number 3 Bearing’ seal, failure of ‘Knife Edge Seal’, erosion of combustion chamber material, Low-Pressure Turbine Rotor Blades damage and issues relating to the Main Gear Box.” The regulator further added, “corrective action has been taken by P&W and the airlines in respect of all except issues relating to Main Gear Box which is a recent phenomenon.”
The aviation regulator also remarked that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) of United States, and its European counterpart EASA, hadn’t declared these engines as unsafe. To recall, back in February and March last year DGCA had grounded 14 planes – 11 of IndiGo and 3 of GoAir because of the same Pratt & Whitney engine issues.