COVID-19 impact: Breather for IndiGo, GoAir

The pandemic COVID-19 has provided little breather for India’s aviation companies, particularly to InterGlobe Aviation that operates low-cost airline IndiGo and GoAir.

On Monday, India’s aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) extended the deadline for IndiGo and GoAir to replace all the 60 unmodified Pratt and Whitney (PW) engines on their A320neo planes from May 31 to August 31, as supply chain has been impacted due to the novel coronavirus-induced lockdown.

The PW engine-powered A320 neo planes in IndiGo and GoAir fleets have been facing glitches both mid-air and on-ground since their induction way back in 2016.

On January 13, the DGCA had said the unmodified PW engines do contain an “unsafe condition, which is prone to undesirable outcomes” and therefore, need to be dispensed with.

On Monday, the DGCA instructed both the airlines to replace about 60 engines before August 31 instead of May 31 as the supply chains and production lines got impacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic and in turn, disturbed the process, it added.

Further, the regulator instructed that for current times, aircraft with both engines modified should be flown and this should not be difficult as the curtailed operations are likely to last for some more time.

Four Air Turn Back (ATB)/Inflight Shut Down (IFSD) events were witnessed on Airbus A320Neo aircraft operated by Indigo in a week during October 2019 due to the failure of third stage LPT (low pressure turbine) blades.

In March, IndiGo and GoAir had 60 and 32 unmodified PW engines, respectively, for their A320Neo.

In all, IndiGo and GoAir were to get 180 modified engines both as replacement on planes already in their fleet and on new A320/321Neos delivered to them by May-end.

While 90 of the modified engines were to come as new deliveries and replacement by February-end, the remaining half was expected by May 31. IndiGo currently has about 110 Neos and GoAir has 43 Neos.

Together the two Indian carriers had about 25% of the 585 A320Neos family of aircraft with PW 1100 series engines in March.

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