India grounds 11 Indigo, GoAir jets after engine shutdowns

DGCA grounds 11 A320 neo aircraft having P&W engines

However, in a late evening statement, IndiGo said it will have to ground only six aircraft.

According to the source, an aircraft on average operates seven to eight trips a day and considering that 11 aircraft have been grounded, the number of cancelled flights could easily touch around 80-90 besides the cascading delays.

The DGCA says that A320neos with engine serial numbers ESN 450 and beyond will be grounded.

According to the regulator, P&W in its latest communication has also not given any firm commitment as to when the issue on the engine post serial number 450 would be resolved. On February 9, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) had issued an emergency airworthiness directive + for A-320 Neos fitted with PW1100 engines (from serial number 450 and beyond) due to some occurrences of aborted take-off and in-flight shut down (IFSD) of these engines.

DGCA said there had been three such incidents in 2018 - two involving IndiGo and one with an GoAir aircraft.

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"We are altering flight schedules and communicating the same to those affected by the last minute changes; we are making all possible arrangements to minimize the impact", GoAir said in a statement. Of the 11 newly grounded Indian aircraft, as many as five may be able to recommence flying by swapping engines between affected planes. Upon implementation of the directive, IndiGo shall have a total of nine A320neo aircraft on ground.

Three A-320s of IndiGo planes had already been grounded because of being equipped with the faulty engines. These included GoAir A-320 Neo (VT-WGB) after take-off from Leh on February 24; IndiGo A-320 Neo (VT-ITJ) after take-off from Mumbai on March 5 and IndiGo A-320 Neo (VT-ITA) after take-off from Ahmedabad on March 12.

DGCA said it has not got a "firm commitment" from the U.S. engine manufacturer on addressing fresh safety concerns, which forced it to ground the fleet. All defective components would be replaced by early June, requiring some planes to fly with one affected engine for nearly three more months.

Last week, Minister of State for Civil Aviation remained evasive on whether there are any plans to ground these planes and had said that the ministry has been working very closely with safety regulators around the world to decide the best course of action for the P&W neo engine. GoAir has 13 such planes.

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