Pratt unending woes: ‘700 engines to be removed for checks by 2026’; IndiGo scouts to lease planes – Times of India

by The Technical Blogs


NEW DELHI: The bad news from Pratt & Whitney (PW) shows no signs of ebbing for customer airlines using its snag-ridden engines on the best-selling single aisle Airbus A320neo planes and passengers. The engine-maker has now warned that “600 to 700 engines will be removed for shop visits between 2023 and 2026 (and) the accelerated removals and incremental shop visits will result in higher aircraft on ground.” As the world’s biggest customer for A320 family aircraft, IndiGo is trying to lease over 20 older generation A320ceos to cope with what could further aggravate its grounded fleet situation. India’s largest domestic airline has a fleet of over 300 planes of which almost 50 are grounded for want of PW engines.
The neos were supposed to be more fuel efficient than the A320ceos but the issues with PW engines has now led IndiGo to look for A320ceos. IndiGo currently has over 130 A320neos and could be badly hit by the new PW warning. It has already wet leased (taken on lease with operating crew) two wide body aircraft from Turkish Airlines which are used to operate a daily between Istanbul and Delhi and Mumbai. GoAir had a fleet of PW-powered A320s but is now grounded. The airline had squarely blamed PW for its collapse.
In a statement, IndiGo said Tuesday: “We are in receipt of the recent information from our original equipment manufacturer PW regarding the outcome of the latest inspection of their engine. We continue to work closely with PW to assess the potential impact to our fleet and implement mitigation measures as required.”
The “accelerated removals” have become necessary as PW detected “powder metal contamination” that can lead to some engine components cracking. Greg Hayes, chairman and CEO of US-based aerospace major RTX that makes PW engines, said: “We are focused on addressing the challenges arising from the powder metal manufacturing issue. We will never compromise on the safe operation of our fleet, which is why the PW team has worked diligently to develop its fleet management plan. At the same time, we recognise this is an extremely difficult situation for our customers, and we are proactively taking steps to support and mitigate the operational impact to them.”
The Indian Directorate General of Civil Aviation had this July had a conference with its American counterpart, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and PW on the latest in a series of unending snags in Pratt’s geared turbofan (GTF) engines that power the Airbus A320neos. The latest trouble relates to microscopic contaminants being found in a metal used in part of the engine core. Following a couple of inflight shutdowns of these engines recently, the DGCA is doing its own “deep dive” on the issue.


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