A series of technical failures with the Airbus A320neo jets powered by Pratt & Whitney engines brought major Indian operators IndiGo and GoAir under scrutiny last year.
The deadline given by the Indian regulator for replacing these engines has since then been extended multiple times.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has granted three more months to Indian airlines IndiGo and GoAir to replace the old engines on their Airbus A320neo jets.
To ensure that aircraft with the “faulty engines” stay grounded, the aviation watchdog has asked both airlines to operate only those A320/321 new engine options (neo), which have been modified.
The DGCA stated that it is a plausible method to deploy at present as the airlines are not operating at their full capacity due to the corona pandemic.
“Supply chains and production lines have been impacted and in turn disturbed the (engine replacement) process due to COVID-19. Keeping this in mind, we have extended the deadline by three months; up to 3 August 2020. Also, we have instructed that at the present time, neos with both engines modified should be flown. This should not be difficult as the curtailed operations are likely to last for some more time,” a DGCA official told the media.
In January, the DGCA extended the deadline for replacing older Pratt & Whitney engines on Airbus A320neos with newer ones until 31 May 2020 or else asked the airlines to face grounding. According to the aviation regulator, a total of 60 engines are to be replaced by both airlines.
The watchdog previously asked IndiGo and GoAir to replace at least one engine on 29 aircraft that were operating with “un-modified” old engines, a direction that has been adhered to now. A series of technical snags were reported last year wherein flights had to return due to technical errors being noticed shortly after takeoff. Similarly, an IndiGo flight was also grounded after an ATC spotted smoke toward the rear of a plane.
A320neo aircraft are manufactured by European aerospace company Airbus, and India’s IndiGo was its first customer.