Indigo grounds two more A320 neo aircrafts

IndiGo, India's largest domestic airline by market share, is perhaps facing its worst crisis with eight of its new Airbus A320neo jets grounded, hit by a string of engine snags, forcing tens of flights to be cancelled or rescheduled and upsetting travel plans of hundreds.

Budget carrier IndiGo Airlines announced on Sunday that it A320 Neo aircraft that operated on the Bengaluru-Delhi route earlier in the day was withdrawn here for a maintenance check to attend to a reported defect.

On Sunday, Mumbai-Srinagar IndiGo flight 6E 559, which used an A320 Neo jet fitted with a P&W engine, was grounded for a day after a leak from one engine, which was detected during maintenance checks, was repaired. It added, "However, during engine start, the pilot-in-command observed a hydraulic (not oil) leakage from engine 2".

Indigo confirmed that one of the two aircraft saw metal chips in the left engine while other aircraft was withdrawn due to hydraulic leakage. Of these flights, 42 are of IndiGo and six belong to GoAir.

More number of flights, however, were cancelled in February this year (0.89%) as compared to the corresponding period last year (0.39%), affecting 44,294 passengers. It needs to be noted that, such grounding of flights by Indigo comes after the aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCAs) last week banned 8 planes carrying A320Neo engines of the airline. This caused a reduced capacity for the airlines forcing them to cancel flights. Citing safety concerns, DGCA in its March 12 order had said PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect. Put together, IndiGo and GoAir have cancelled around 626 flights.

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DGCA told the court that there were engine failure problems in the modified A320neos, which numbered 14 and were grounded.

Indigo investors have lost some faith in it's share price.

According to reports, engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney has said that 98 engines on A320neo aircraft may be prone to shutting down.

GoAir is not listed on stock exchanges.

  • Regina Holmes