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Indigo Mumbai Hyderabad Flight: 22 snags in two years: IndiGo Neo suffers Pratt engine stall, returns safely to Mumbai | India Business News

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NEW DELHI: Yet another snag-prone Pratt and Whitney engine (PW) of IndiGo A320 Neo stalled soon after taking off from Mumbai for Hyderabad as 6E-5384 in the early hours of Thursday. While passing flight level 23,000 feet, one of the engines experienced the now common high vibration with a loud bang sound, stalled and had to be shut down.

Since twin-engine planes can land safely on one engine, this Neo (VT-IJD) with just over 100 people on board made a safe emergency landing in Mumbai at 1.39 am — less than an hour after taking off from there at 12.43 am. This is the 22nd snag of PW engines on IndiGo Neos in last two years.

“During ground inspection, low pressure turbine number 3 of engine number 1 that had done 4,006 hours was found damaged. The Neo is grounded in Mumbai. The other engine was a modified one that had done only 1,198 hours and the plane had landed safely on that,” said a person investigating the latest trouble.

An IndiGo spokesperson said flight 6E-5384 (A320) with 95 passengers “operating Mumbai Hyderabad had an air turn back to Mumbai. During the flight, the pilot observed an engine caution message and followed the laid-down standard operating procedures. The aircraft returned to Mumbai and is under inspection at the Mumbai airport. All passengers were accommodated on another flight to Hyderabad.”

Comments from PW have been sought and are awaited.

In the past few days there has again been a spurt in PW engine snags on A320 Neos. People in the know say that such issues are likely to keep happening till the unmodified and more snag-prone PW engines of the Neos are replaced. But airlines and aviation regulators say they have taken steps to ensure safety till that happens.

“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has insisted and ensured that NO A320 Neo flying with PW engines — a combination used by IndiGo and GoAir — has both unmodified engines. The Neos in India, 106 with IndiGo and 41 with GoAir, have at least one modified engine each under their wings. So while the unmodified PW engine may stall inflight, the modified one will ensure the aircraft lands safely,” said a source.

The decision to allow Airbus A320/321 Neos with IndiGo and GoAir to operate only if they have at least one modified — and hopefully less snag-prone PW engine — has saved the day on multiple occasions as there have been numerous instances on the unmodified Pratt engine going bust and then the Neos landing safely on the one modified engine.

IndiGo needs to change about 137 unmodified PW engines on the A320/321 Neos in its fleet. This means of the 106 A320/321 Neos in IndiGo fleet currently, about 70 require an engine replacement.

The DGCA has extended the January 31, 2020, deadline for having only modified PW engines on all its Airbus A320/321 Neos by four months to May 31. The regulator has stressed that no IndiGo Neo will be allowed fly after that if it still has an unmodified PW engine.

While PW has not commented on the recurring snags on its Neo engines for some time now, IndiGo — the world’s biggest customer of A320 family of Neos with 106 in fleet and over 650 on order — on January 17, 2020, sent a detailed response on this issue.

IndiGo statement of January 17 said: “There are around 560 plus Neo operating with PW-1100G engines with 36 airlines. Globally these aircraft have logged over 20 lakh hours and over 10 lakh cycles (flights). New product and design are associated with issues which get manifested in-service. There have been issues with low pressure turbine stage 3 of Pratt engines. Pratt has identified the root cause and developed a fix with modified low pressure turbine blades made of Inconel. This fix has been implemented since May 2019. All new engines and spare engines currently being delivered are with modified LPT.”

“In order to ensure continued safety of operation, Airbus and engines manufacturer and various regulatory authorities like DGCA in India, FAA in US and EASA of Europe have issued directives. Directives of DGCA are much more stringent than FAA and EASA. IndiGo Neo fleet is in full compliance with DGCA directives. At present, none of our Neo aircraft have both unmodified engines i.e. each aircraft either have both engines modified or at least one engine is modified. We have achieved that EASA guideline 2.5 months prior to the EASA deadline of March 31, 2020. Further IndiGo is working with original equipment manufacturer to ensure that 100% of IndiGo Neo fleet will have modified engines within the DGCA stipulated timelines which is much ahead of the FAA time line,” the IndiGo Jan 17 statement added.

Times of India

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