Pratt & Whitney engine issue could ground some planes

Airbus Identifies New Engine Problem on the A320neo Family

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European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and its American supplier Pratt & Whitney announced Friday that they had identified a new problem on the aircraft engines fitted on the A320neo.

About 113 Pratt & Whitney engines now equip the A320neo family of aircraft, which are used by 18 customers.

"In line with standard airworthiness procedures, EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency has published an Emergency Airworthiness Directive".

Pratt & Whitney had no immediate comment on the latest Airbus decision.

This is the second occasion when the airline has been forced to ground planes on account of P&W engine problems. But Airbus has still parked around 30 otherwise completed aircraft at its manufacturing sites in Toulouse and Hamburg awaiting engines.

P&W engines have flown 500,000h since the first geared turbofan-powered A320neo entered service in January 2016 with Lufthansa, P&W says.

The A320neo specific PW1100G has been hounded with technical problems and reliability issues, while its variants were less affected.

Indian budget carrier IndiGo, said it had carried out 69 Pratt engines replacements in 18 months, after multiple inflight shut downs and turn backs, adding replacements were the best possible precautionary measure.

A Pratt spokesperson said the issue relates to a "limited sub-population" of PW1100G engines.

Passengers have also been offered refunds, IndiGo said.

The restrictions cover jets with two engines from the same affected batch - effectively grounding those jets. Airbus has issued an Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) providing instructions "to de-pair the affected engines and discontinue [ETOPS] for aircraft fitted with affected engines", according to EASA.

Several A320neo family aircraft have experienced engines failures in flight or during take-off, EASA states.

The DGCA official said IndiGo has three such aircraft, which have been grounded. "As soon as IndiGo learnt of these developments, IndiGo had proactively withdrawn the three A320neo aircraft from service w.e.f. 9th of February", the company said in a statement. Airbus has informed its affected A320neo customers and operators.

Airbus said in a statement that Pratt is "investigating the root cause of this new finding with the full support of Airbus".

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