Indigo & GoAir Cancel More Flights as DGCA Grounds 11 Aircraft

The decision comes after an A320 neo plane of IndiGo suffered engine failure mid-air and made an emergency landing.

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File photo of an IndiGo airplane.

About 50 flights were cancelled by Indigo and GoAir on Wednesday, 14 March, the third day after the DGCA had grounded a third of its A320 Neo aircraft fleet, as part of a safety drive, reports PTI.

While Indigo has reportedly cancelled about 42 of its flights hailing to and fro from cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Jaipur and others, GoAir fared marginally better, cancelling a total of six flights as compared to the eighteen it cancelled on Tuesday, 13 March, the report adds.

As many as 65 flights were cancelled by the two budget carriers on Tuesday, 13 March, after the country’s aviation regulator DGCA grounded 11 of their A320 neo planes with faulty Pratt & Whitney engines, causing severe inconvenience to hundreds of flyers.

On 13 March, the DGCA said that 14 Airbus 320 Neo aircrafts have been grounded out of 45. “The rest are fully operational as there is no safety issue with them”, the DGCA added.

The Gurugram-based IndiGo cancelled 47 of its 1,000-odd flights per day, while the Wadia Group-promoted GoAir said it had cancelled 18 flights, reported PTI.

GoAir cancelled 18 flights of its 230 flights per day originating from over eight cities, the airline said in a statement to PTI.

In a statement to the media issued later, IndiGo said the affected passengers have been given the option of either choosing another flight at no additional cost, or cancelling their booking and getting a full refund without any cancellation charges.

IndiGo has cancelled certain flights due to the grounding of our aircraft further to the DGCA directions, which has been issued in the interest of safety. While we understand that this may cause inconvenience to some of our passengers, given that we have multiple flights to the same destination, we are proactively re-accommodating all our affected passengers on other flights.
IndiGo statement

Aviation regulator DGCA on Monday, 12 March, grounded 11 A320 neo aircraft, powered by a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines, following instances of engine failures during flights.

Of these, eight are operated by IndiGo, and three by GoAir.

The decision comes after an A320 neo aircraft of IndiGo suffered an engine failure mid-air and made an emergency landing at the Ahmedabad airport.

Citing safety of aircraft operations, the DGCA said A320 neos fitted with PW1100 engines beyond ESN 450 have been grounded with immediate effect.

“Both IndiGo and GoAir have been told not to refit these engines, which are spare with them in their inventory,” the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a release.

IndiGo carries about 40 percent of domestic flyers, while GoAir has a market share of around 10 percent, PTI further reported.

The regulator would be in touch with the stakeholders and review the situation in due course when the issue is addressed by European regulator EASA and P&W, it added.

Forty-three such engines (PW1100) are there worldwide, out of which 19 are in India, and are being used by Indigo and GoAir. We don’t consider these safe. Technical analysis is underway and these engines can only be used when we consider it safe.
Jayant Sinha, MoS Civil Aviation to ANI

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

The directive followed instances of engine shutdown during flights and rejected take-offs involving the A320 neo family aircraft.

On 13 February, DGCA had said that it was monitoring engine glitches to ensure that safety is not compromised at any time.

On 21 February, P&W said it has come out with a revised configuration to address the latest problem in some of its engines powering A320 neo planes.

According to BloombergQuint, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation also mentioned in the press release that other than the A32neo flight that made an emergency landing at Ahmedabad, two other separate in-flight shutdowns for the same model of the aircraft were reported earlier this year, which prompted their decision.

These were:

  • GoAir A320 neo VT-WGB after takeoff from Leh on 24 February
  • IndiGo A320 neo VT-ITJ after takeoff from Mumbai on 5 March

(With inputs from PTI)

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