Low-cost carrier IndiGo has asked American aerospace manufacturer Pratt & Whitney (PW) to quickly provide engines for the airline to press its grounded planes back into service, sources said on Wednesday.
The airline wants to increase its domestic frequency to fill the supply-side void created after Go First’s exit, they added.
Go First stopped operating flights from May 3 after filing an insolvency application with the National Company Law Tribunal.
Go First has squarely blamed PW for its situation, stating that about half of its 54 fleet is grounded due to engine supply delay.
According to aviation analytics firm Cirium, the number of PW-powered aircraft grounded in IndiGo’s fleet has escalated from 23 a year ago to 36 as of May 15 this year.
The number of total grounded aircraft has increased from 25 to 37 in a year for IndiGo, the data added.
When asked about the timeline to provide engines to IndiGo, the spokesperson for PW India said that the “supply-chain recovery”, following the Covid-19 pandemic, remains stressed.
“We believe the situation will stabilise throughout 2023. This will support increased output of new and overhauled engines.
"In the interim, we are providing direct logistical support to our suppliers.
"We are expanding our maintenance, repair, and overhaul capacity and working to reduce shop visit turnaround times to improve service availability,” added the spokesperson.
IndiGo estimates it can operate at least 150 more daily flights if all its grounded planes are back on the runway, informed sources.
IndiGo, India’s largest carrier, currently operates about 1,800 flights per day.
The airline is receiving some compensation from PW for its grounded fleet.
A spokesperson for IndiGo did not respond to queries sent by Business Standard.
Is PW currently providing full compensation to IndiGo for losses incurred in view of the grounded planes?
“We cannot comment on the financial and contractual matters of our customers,” the engine-maker’s spokesperson replied.
During an analyst call on February 3, IndiGo’s chief financial officer Gaurav Negi said the airline was working to get relief for the grounded planes.
“We are working with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to get some relief.
"Some of it did come through in the quarter results, which somewhat offset that.
"We continue to work with OEMs for the remainder of the aircraft on ground that we have to adequately compensate for,” noted Negi.
Between April 2022 and April 2023, IndiGo augmented its flights by about 10 per cent.
This is because the new planes are not powered by PW engines.
IndiGo had shifted from PW to CFM International as the engines had been struggling with glitches.
Since IndiGo still has about 140 planes with PW engines, the issue of grounded planes continues to beset the airline.