Mumbai: Hundreds of passengers were stranded across the country on Monday as dozens of flights were cancelled by IndiGo and GoAir after the regulator DGCA grounded 11 A320 Neo planes powered by Pratt & Whitney engines following a mid-air engine failure of an IndiGo plane earlier in the day in Ahmedabad. After the incident, the airlines ascertained that none of these affected engines shall be operated with IndiGo.
Back in 1990, A320 planes operated by then Indian Airlines were grounded following a deadly crash that had killed 89 people.
"Keeping in view the safety of aircraft operations, Airbus 320neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect", the Directorate-General of Civil Aviation said.
The DGCA has also ordered the airlines not to refit the engines even though there are spares in their inventories.
"DGCA will continue to be in touch with the stakeholders and review the situation in due course as and when the issue is addressed by EASA and P&W", it says.
The DGCA order had impacted eight IndiGo and three GoAir planes.
On Monday a flight operated by IndiGo, India's biggest low-priced carrier, experienced a technical glitch with one of its engines. The civil aviation regulator had asked the US-based manufacturer Pratt & Whitney for a commitment regarding safety concern but did not receive an affirmative response. Indigo's boroscopic tests (which are used to test defects or imperfections in aircraft engines and gas turbines) detected these anomalies in 69 instances, Business Today reported.
Clarifying its position, Pratt & Whitney in a statement said, "We are working closely with our customers to minimise disruption". It and GoAir said they'd complied with the DGCA directive. The affected passengers would be accommodated on other flights on our network.
"The corrective action has been approved and we have already begun to deliver production engines with the upgraded configuration".