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Three A320 neo planes on ground due to Pratt & Whitney engine issues: DGCA

Three A320 neo planes on ground due to Pratt & Whitney engine issues: DGCA
Image Credit: Twitter

Aviation regulator DGCA Friday said three A320 neo planes of no-frills airline GoAir are grounded due to Pratt & Whitney engine issues.

While the three aircraft are awaiting replacement of engines, the watchdog has referred certain cases of "engine vibrations" and "low-pressure turbine blade damage" to P&W.

IndiGo and GoAir together have 84 A320 neo planes fitted with P&W engines in their fleet.

Some of these aircraft have suffered engine issues and over a period of time, various regulatory actions have been initiated to address the problems.

In a rare move, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has issued a public notice titled 'Status Report on Airbus A320 neo aircraft fitted with PW 1100 engines (as on November 27, 2018)'.

The DGCA with its actions has "ensured that the safety of aircraft operations is not compromised at any stage", the notice said.

According to the notice, at present, three A320 neo aircraft of GoAir are on the ground awaiting replacement of engines.

"... there have been few cases of engine vibrations, Low-Pressure Turbine (LPT) blade damage, Airlines have referred the matter to the engine manufacturer. DGCA would consider issuing necessary instructions upon receipt of the report from the engine manufacturer," it said.

IndiGo inducted the first A320 neo aircraft in March 2016 and has 59 such planes in its fleet, while GoAir inducted the first such aircraft in May 2016. The latter has 25 of them.

In August, Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu sought a detailed report from the regulator on the grounding of some of these planes following engine issues.

Post induction of the PW 1100G-JM engine into service, there have been technical issues of distress in the combustion chamber and oil chips detection indication due to wear of No 3 bearing seals and High Pressure Compressor rear knife edge seal fitted on engines with Serial Number 450 and above, that were introduced into service from October 2017 onwards, as per the notice.

Some of the issues were also flagged by US aviation regulator Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which had issued two Airworthiness Directives (ADs) early November.

Among others, the periodicity of Boroscopic Inspection (BSI) on combustion chamber was brought down from 3,900 to 1,500 flight hours by the engine manufacturer.

The DGCA noted that it has reduced the periodicity further to 1,000 flight hours with repeat inspection at every 500 flight hours and 375 hours in February 2017.

The restrictions imposed by the DGCA have been adopted by the engine manufacturer for 'Block B' combustion chambers effective March 2018, the notice said.

"In the event of non-satisfactory BSI result, the affected engine is being removed before any impending failure and these restrictions continue to be in force," the notice added.

Mentioning about the measures taken to address the issues, the DGCA said it has "ensured that the safety of aircraft operations is not compromised at any stage".

(With inputs from agencies.)



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