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India’s Aviation Regulator May Ground More IndiGo Flights Over Unmodified Engines

Aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil aviation (DGCA) on Monday directed IndiGo to ground an old A320neo family aircraft with an unmodified Pratt and Whitney (PW) engine each time it inducted a new A320neo plane into its fleet. This means a significant portion of IndiGo’s fleet could be grounded if the carrier fails to meet the 31 January 2020 deadline.

Despite IndiGo’s efforts to modify the PW engines installed on A320neo aircraft, the aviation regulator has deemed them as inadequate. The instruction given in order to avoid cancellations fo flight son a large-scale from January 31 onwards, The DGCA has given a directive to the airline to comply with the regulations and replace all unmodified PW engines on the A320neo aircraft before the deadline or face grounding of the large fleet. 

InterGlobe Aviation Ltd., the group that operates IndiGo, said it is trying to fix the issue in order to meet the deadline set by  “working with P&W and Airbus to adjust inflow of LPT (low-pressure turbine) 3 modified engines to meet the DGCA guidelines”. 

But the DGCA has more concerns on the scale this disruption will have.

However, with the budget carrier announcing that it would buy more Airbus 320neo, including A321neo and A321XLR aircraft IndiGo has been asked to present a complete action plan on November 25 on how it would procure and replace PW engines on all 97 aircraft before 31st January 2020 by the DGCA. 

A DGCA official stated that “if left unaddressed, we may find ourselves in a situation in which we remain saddled with a large number of aircraft with unmodified engines and operating on a schedule approved by us. We are left with the only option i.e. to ground them on January 31 2020. And if we were to exercise this option, a large scale disruption with its attendant consequences shall follow”. 

With only IndiGo and GoAir operating PW-powered A320neo family aircraft in India, GoAir has 38 A320neo aircraft and IndiGo has about 97 A320neo aircraft. Will IndiGo and GoAir be able to replace the engines before the DGCA’s deadline?  

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