Monday, February 19, 2018

Indian Regulator Defends IndiGo's GTF Response

by Neelam Mathews
February 19, 2018, 11:00 AM

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has refuted media claims that that budget airline IndiGo put safety at risk by flying A320neos powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100Gs following findings of faulty knife-edge seals in some of the engines’ high-pressure compressors. In a caustic statement, it called the allegations “baseless, devoid of technical support, and lacking material evidence…with a view to create sensation in the minds of the traveling public.
IndiGo’s fleet includes 32 A320neos, and fellow Indian low-fare carrier Go Air has inducted 13 A320neos powered by the Pratt & Whitney engines. Pratt recently reported it identified the potentially affected engines and communicated with its customers. “As a precaution, aircraft with these engines will be addressed in a manner consistent with the operational instructions issued by Airbus,” it said. In compliance with a February 9 EASA Emergency Airworthiness Directive, IndiGo has grounded three A320neos fitted with engines carrying serial number 450 and beyond. “Further course of action will be taken by DGCA after receipt of detailed report/inputs from EASA in this regard,” said the DGCA. Indigo reported three in-flight shutdown and three turn-backs before takeoff without incident.
An aviation ministry official said the airline had already taken some 10 A320ceos with CFM Leap-1As on a short-term lease of around three years. While Airbus has reported no timelines on delivery of “fixed” engines, CEO Tom Enders called the circumstance “a hell of a problem” during a February 15 press conference, but one that the airframer will address in a timely manner.
“We are used to crisis management over engines and are working closely with our engine partners,” he said. “Our focus is to minimize glitches for customers and get back into delivering good engines in 2018…there is no need for doom and gloom.”
Problems with the new GTF engines have plagued operators since their induction in 2016. A320neo operators detected distress in combustion chambers and oil chip warnings due to bearing wear last year. The DGCA said it introduced mitigation measures for planned removal of engines to contain failure during flight. They included more frequent boroscopic inspection of  combustion chambers, to 1,000 hours from the 1,500 hours originally recommended.

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