Hundreds of passengers stranded as DGCA grounds 11 IndiGo, GoAir planes

India aviation regulator orders grounding of 11 jets fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines

India aviation regulator orders grounding of 11 jets fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines

The decision to ground the 11 planes, fitted with a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines, was taken after 186 passengers on an IndiGo flight from Ahmedabad to Calcutta via Lucknow had a mid-air scare when one of the engines failed.

The latest groundings are expected to affect over 70 flights daily between IndiGo and GoAir.

According to the source, an aircraft on average operates seven to eight trips a day and considering that 11 aircraft have been grounded, the number of cancelled flights could easily touch around 80-90 besides the cascading delays. The aircraft "experienced [a] technical glitch with its Number 2 engine", says the carrier.

That's not acceptable, according to Indian regulator DGCA, which said the manufacturer had "no concrete proposal in place at this stage".

"Both IndiGo and GoAir have been told not to refit these engines, which are spare with them in their inventory". He added that three were grounded last month after the EASA orders.

Under the Pratt plan, all defective components would be replaced by early June, requiring some planes to fly with one affected engine for nearly three more months.

On 9 February, EASA had issued an emergency airworthiness directive for A320 neo planes fitted with PW1100 engines having a particular serial number.

Clarifying its position, Pratt & Whitney in a statement said: "We are working closely with our customers to minimize disruption". Upon implementation of the directive, IndiGo shall have a total of nine A320neo aircraft on ground.

Besides today's incident, there were two - one with GoAir plane after take-off from Leh on February 24 and another was with IndiGo following take-off from Mumbai on March 5.

Immediately after this, three A-320s of IndiGo were grounded in India as these planes had both engines of the flagged type.

Speaking to Times of India, Air safety expert Capt Mohan Ranganathan said that the "DGCA shouldn't have waited this long to ground the aircraft". The unilateral action is at odds with the European Aviation Safety Agency, the primary regulator for Airbus planes, which repeated guidance that the jets are safe if they have a single affected turbine.

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