New Engine Trouble for Pratt & Whitney, Airbus

IndiGo Airlines

A senior official of Indigo confirmed receiving the recommendations by Pratt & Whitney as well as EASA with respect to the A320neo aircrafts powered by PW1100G-JM engines.

Airbus said it had informed affected A320neo customers and operators, adding there are now 113 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo aircraft flying with 18 customers.

The A320neo is a revised version of the A319, A320, and A321 twin-engine aircraft with a "new engine option" (either the CFM International LEAP-1A or the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G), and large wing tips that help to reduce the jets' fuel consumption. 33 aircraft, according to Airbus and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). Such a directive is issued when an unsafe condition exists that requires immediate action by an aircraft's owner or operator. Airbus selected the PW1100 as the launch engine for the A320neo (new engine option) aircraft family, based on its fuel efficiency, noise reduction, and lower Carbon dioxide and NOX emissions.

Airbus too has issued an alert, saying these aircraft should not be used till further instructions.

Indian budget carrier IndiGo, said it had carried out 69 Pratt engines replacements in 18 months, after multiple inflight shut downs and turn backs, adding replacements were the best possible precautionary measure. A DGCA official said, "While investigation is on to determine the root cause, EASA's preliminary findings indicated the particular sub-category of PW1100 engines was more susceptible to dual engine failure". We are working to resolve this issue swiftly to minimize disruption.

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P&W's Purepower engine family features a breakthrough GTF architecture, featuring a intermediate planetary gear system, that decouples the main engine fan and the engine core, enabling both to operate at their optimum rotational speeds. The developer claims it is "the only engine that powers the full range of new regional and single aisle platforms across the 70-220 seat size", and it has 42% of all announced A320neo series orders. While the GTF powered Airbus A320neo and the Bombardier CSeries have entered service, the Embraer Ejet E2 family, Mitsubishi MRJ family, the Russian Irkut MC-21 and the Chinese COMAC C919 are under flight testing.

The issue is the latest in a string of problems that have bedeviled the GTF program.

Interestingly, the PW1100G is the highest thrust variant (110-160 kN) in the engine family and also the most number in operational use.

A320neo operators with Pratt & Whitney engines have been plagued by reliability issues since they began flying passengers in 2016. Approximately 374 units were delivered in 2017.

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