Pratt & Whitney Engines Are Giving IndiGo A Big Headache

Oscar Cross
February 15, 2018

The company is also working to assess an overall industrial and delivery plan to minimise customer disruption.

Pratt & Whitney's new generation PurePower PW1100G geared turbofan (GTF) engines powering the Airbus A320neo family aircraft has ran into new problems.

India's IndiGo has grounded three jets, but regulators said its competitor GoAir is not affected.

Following this problem, IndiGo has already grounded three A320 neo planes that are powered by P&W engines. "The current population of impacted engines is 43 engines installed on 32 aircraft, of which 21 aircraft have one engine with the modified configuration, and 11 aircraft have two engines with that configuration".

Of the 113 Pratt-powered aircraft in operation worldwide, about 30 per cent are equipped with either one or two faulty engines, the planemaker said in an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg News today. Airbus selected the PW1100 as the launch engine for the A320neo (new engine option) aircraft family, based on its fuel efficiency, noise reduction, and lower Carbon dioxide and NOX emissions. Fellow Dow stock General Electric (GE), which makes the rival Leap engine, climbed 3.4%, though the Leap has run into its own production problems. Indigo on Sunday said it had suffered three in-flight shutdowns, while pilots have had to turn back before taking off in three other instances.

Airbus brought the issue to the European aviation agency's attention, a spokesperson said, and the company has outlined safety recommendations for airlines until Pratt & Whitney can fix or replace the engines.

Gregory Hayes, chief executive officer of UTC, told industry analysts on a conference call January 24 that Pratt & Whitney shipped 374 geared turbofan engines in 2017, the midpoint of its 350 to 400 target, and almost triple the number of shipments in 2016.

Earlier overheating problems on the Pratt engines have interfered with A320neo deliveries since early past year.

A statement from IndiGo on Saturday said the precautionary measure of grounding the three aircraft "resulted in cancellations of some of our flights". Aircraft with one affected engine are restricted from certain extended-range flights.

ETOPS certification allows twin engine aircraft to fly straight, rather than flying close to airports for diversion in case of an engine trouble.

There are also "approximately 55 such engines" delivered to the Airbus final assembly line awaiting installation on customer aircraft, Pratt & Whitney said.

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