March 14, 2018

India grounds Pratt-powered A320neos


Photo | Contributed

Airbus A320neo.

The Indian government has ordered the grounding of 11 aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney's geared turbofan engines after one plane experienced an in-flight engine failure on an Airbus A320neo that caused a flight to be aborted, the Times of India reported Monday.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation ordered the immediate grounding of 11 Airbus A320neos powered by the Pratt engines, the report said. Eight of the planes belong to IndiGo Air and three belong to GoAir.

The engine failure occurred when an IndiGo A320neo took off from India's Ahmedabad airport on Monday and then had to return to make an emergency landing, the report said.

India's grounding order comes only a month after the European Aviation Safety Agency on Feb. 9 issued an emergency airworthiness directive for the same type of Pratt-powered aircraft after similar in-flight engine shut-downs, also in India. The EASA directive ordered the grounding of planes that had both engines in the group with specific serial numbers.

The European order, however, did not ground planes that had only one of the suspect engines, as the aircraft are designed to fly safely on a single engine.

The Indian government order extends the grounding to all planes having even one of the engines subject to in-flight shutdowns, the report said.

Pratt spokeswoman Jenny Dervin said the company is working closely with customers in India "to minimize disruption." Dervin added that "corrective action has been approved and we have already begun to deliver production engines with the upgraded configuration."

In a February statement following the EASA directive, Pratt said it is working with Airbus to address the EASA finding about an issue with what Pratt identified as a "knife edge seal" in the high-pressure compressor on the rear hub of the PW1100G-JM engine. Such seals are designed to withstand high temperatures and pressures in aerospace engines.

The issue is isolated to a "limited sub-population of engines," Pratt said, but did not say how many engines that includes.

Monday's report goes on to say that Pratt also has not given "any firm commitment" as to when the issue with the engines will be resolved.

"There is no concrete proposal in place at this stage to address the issue," the report said.

The report also said that "only a handful" of A320neos in IndiGo and GoAir fleets has the specific series of Pratt engine that experienced the issues.

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