IndiGo suffers engine failures in the air again, 21 in the NEO fleet since 2018

The Indian aviation regulator gave a deadline to modify all problematic engines.

One hundred seventy-six passengers, including three babies, were aboard the IndiGO 6E-6129 flight, a flight between Pune and Jaipur, when the pilot declared a complete emergency due to an engine stop. The plane was diverted to Mumbai.

This is the last incident related to the engine that affects the airline, the largest in India, and the twenty-first case since 2018 when IndiGo began inducing new A-320 NEO aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney 1100 series engines .

GoAir, which also operates the same engine in its substantially smaller fleet of NEO A-320, has also had three engine failures.

Today’s incident occurs a few days after the Indian aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), granted the airline an extension until May 31 to replace or modify all problematic engines in its Airbus fleet A-320 and A-321 NEO.

Earlier this month, IndiGo operated 106 aircraft of this type.

Although the process of modifying or replacing all problematic engines is underway, it is understood that IndiGo continues to operate dozens of flights with at least one unmodified engine.

The engine, which failed on today’s flight, was one of those units and is believed to have suffered damage to the blades of the third stage of its Low Pressure Turbine (LPT), a recurring problem throughout the fleet.

Despite repeated inquiries, IndiGo has not provided NDTV information on the number of A-320 NEO or A-321 NEO aircraft currently operating with an unmodified engine.

In November, the DGCA had warned of catastrophic consequences if the problematic blades of the third stage in the engines of the NEO A-320 that were operated were not replaced.

“These conditions, if not addressed, could result in the uncontrolled release of the blades of the third stage LPT, the failure of one of the engines, the loss of thrust control and the loss of aircraft,” he said.

Despite this, the regulator extended its own deadline of January 31 for the airline to modify all its engines. The DGCA has been concerned about the possibility that dozens of IndiGo flights are on the ground if the ban is applied according to the original deadline, a measure that would have impacted countless passengers throughout the country.

NDTV learned that one of the two engines of the Airbus A-320 NEO aircraft, which stopped this morning, also developed high vibrations when crossing an altitude of 36,000 feet.

The pilot reduced the thrust (power) in the malfunctioning engine, idling it before landing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport in Mumbai. The damaged engine had flown a total of 3,373 hours and was last inspected on December 9.

In a press release, IndiGo said: “ During the flight, the pilot observed a motor vibration message and followed the order [down] Standard of Operating Procedures. The flight landed in Mumbai. The plane is currently under inspection in Mumbai. ”

NEO means New engine option: Airbus, the manufacturer of the A-320 series aircraft, had offered options to airlines to adapt to aircraft receiving a new generation of engines that were 15 percent more fuel efficient , more ecological and significantly quieter. .

IndiGo and GoAir selected the Pratt & Whitney 1100 series engines that have proven to be very problematic. Air India and Vistara used CFM LEAP-1A engines that have not had frequent safety problems.


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