‘We have taken cognisance of the issue and have asked the engine manufacturer and airlines using it to complete the test to find out a solution to the problem in combustion chamber by April,’ a DGCA official said.
Indian aviation regulator Directorate general of Civil Aviation has ordered an examination of Pratt & Whitney 1100G engines of Airbus A320 neo which have repeatedly faced technical issue.
In India, low-cost carriers IndiGo and GoAir use P&W engines for the A320 neo aircraft.
On Tuesday, a senior DGCA official told Business Standard that the regulator has ordered a boroscope test for all engines of this model which have completed 1,000 hours of flight instead of normal 1,500 hours.
“We have taken cognisance of the issue and have asked the engine manufacturer and airlines using it to complete the test to find out a solution to the problem in combustion chamber by April,” the DGCA official said.
He added that the engine is facing twin problems. One in the combustion chamber and the other is with the third bearing of the engine. A P&W engine has 5 bearings.
A boroscope test of the combustion chamber will be done to find out the reason behind repeated “chip warning" alert that pilots of the aircraft have been getting.
Besides that, the engine manufacturer has been asked to find whether flying in the hot Indian climate is heating up the engine. P&W is yet to reply to queries sent by the paper.
As of now, 21 aircraft in India use P&W engines out of which IndiGo has 16 whereas GoAir’s fleet consists of 5. Though at present a small size, any adversarial findings could have an impact on future orders.
IndiGo, the biggest customer of the A320 neo has chosen P&W for its 150 aircraft.
Gulf major Qatar Airways, which was supposed to be the launch customer for A320 neo has cancelled orders for the aircraft as issues remain unresolved.
However, IndiGo said that their A320 neo induction plan and has earlier last month received an aircraft which was supposed to be delivered to Qatar Airways.
In response to a query from Business Standard, IndiGo accepted that the engine is facing certain operational issues but maintained that there is no change to the aircraft induction plan.
“Though we continue to face a few operational issues with the Neo engine; both Pratt & Whitney and Airbus are working to address these issues. And in the meantime we continue to receive the necessary operational and technical support including the provision of spares engines to help mitigate the operational impact on us,” an IndiGo spokesperson said.
Airbus recently said that P&W improve on deliveries of engines for the A320neo jet, which were hit by delays last year.
“It won't be a walk in the park. The challenges on engine front are still there. Pratt & Whitney has to make a huge effort to further improve," Airbus CEO Tom Enders said according to Reuters.
According to reports, a snag in the engine forced an IndiGo aircraft to return to Delhi after taking off for Bhubaneshwar. This was the sixth incident involving an A320 neo using the P&W incident over the last one month including one which resulted in a fire on the tail of a GoAir flight.
Photograph: Vivek Prakash/Reuters.