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Minimal impact on IndiGo fleet due to Pratt and Whitney engine anomalies : DGCA

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Amid concerns over material anomalies in Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engines, Indian carrier IndiGo is set to send 13 engines to the US-based manufacturer for inspection. According to sources, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has assured minimal disruption to domestic carriers during the peak season, addressing worries surrounding the ongoing global engine anomalies.

With 15 engines affected on IndiGo planes, of which 13 are already non-operational, the immediate impact is expected to be mitigated. IndiGo’s A320 fleet, a key customer for P&W engines, along with Go First’s A320neo fleet, are affected, the person added.

The inspection process will involve sending two engines from IndiGo’s operational fleet and eleven from grounded fleet. The goal is to conduct an Angle Ultrasonic Scan Inspection (AUSI) during the shop visit, and the engines are required to be submitted for inspection before September 15.

While this development might raise concerns about potential disruptions during the upcoming travel season, a senior official from the airline reassured that there will be little to no impact on the capacity of Indian carriers.

Global impact

Pratt & Whitney has pinpointed 200 PW1100G engines, including those of IndiGo and Go First, for immediate inspection. This initial wave of inspections is set to be completed by mid-September. Additionally, the engine manufacturer has previously stated that around 1,000 more PW1100 engines will need to be inspected within the next 9 to 12 months. This broader inspection effort could potentially impact up to 600 aircraft globally.

IndiGo’s Chief Financial Officer, Gaurav Negi, acknowledged the situation during a post-earnings call, emphasising the collaborative efforts to minimise any potential fleet disruptions. Negi stated, “We are working with the OEM to assess and minimise any potential impact on our fleet.”

IndiGo currently operates a fleet of 312 aircraft, of which around 45 are grounded due to maintenance and spare engine shortages. The airline had initially signed an agreement with Pratt & Whitney in 2012 for PurePower PW1100G-JM engines but shifted to CFM for LEAP-1A engines for a portion of its A320neo family aircraft.

Pieter Elbers, CEO of IndiGo, mentioned during an investor call that the inspection process would be phased in, with only a limited number of engines being impacted initially. He refrained from speculating on the exact numbers for subsequent phases but said that “a single-digit number of engines in that very first phase.”

Pratt & Whitney’s president and chief operating officer, Christopher Calio, expressed regret for the situation and assured customers of the company’s commitment to address the issue promptly. He stated, “We’re truly sorry for the impact of this, and we will do all we can to support our customers.”

The engine inspection and subsequent actions are crucial to addressing the rare condition identified in the powdered metal used for certain engine components. Pratt & Whitney’s enhanced inspection protocol aims to mitigate any potential impact on the engines’ operational lifespan.



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