Three Indigo-operated A320neo planes grounded after Airbus engine issue

IndiGo flight. File

The impact is outsize because previous durability issues with the GTF engine forced a back-loading of deliveries.

Airbus made a decision to stop accepting additional Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines equipping its A320neo family aircraft, after a higher than normal number of inflight shutdowns and aborted takeoffs were reported on aircraft using the latest build-standard engines.

There are 43 engines installed on 32 aircraft affected by the latest problem, 21 aircraft have one engine with the modified configuration, and 11 aircraft have both engines with the new configuration. They were down 1.3 per cent to €82.24 as of 10.43am in Paris. That valued the company at 63.7 billion euros ($78 billion). However, only three, operated by budget carrier IndiGo have been grounded so far. Pratt parent United Technologies Corp. fell 0.4 percent to $123.50 at 9:33 a.m.in NY. It is also said extended-range, twin-engine operations (ETOPS) can online be performed with two unaffected engines.

It's impossible to overestimate the importance of the A320 for Airbus. ET had reported in November that IndiGo saw about 69 engine failures on its new Airbus 320 (neo) aircraft.

The company builds more than 50 of the $110.6mn aircraft every month and it is the fastest selling aircraft in commercial aviation history, as well as being the "best-ever aircraft", according to the Airbus website.

Airbus has traditionally offered two engine options on the A320, and the company maintained that approach on the neo. There are also approximately 55 such engines delivered to the Airbus final assembly line awaiting installation on customer aircraft.

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For Pratt, the neo's introduction offered a chance to solidify its position in the market for single-aisle planes, which form the backbone of most global airline fleets.

IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, said that it is in contact with Pratt & Whitney to address the results of a recent finding.

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

Airbus said 113 of the jets at 18 airlines use the Pratt geared turbofan engine, but not all are affected. He didn't specify the exact amount, but he said "it's not material".

The problem stems from a component in the engine that can show early signs of wear, and it's located in an area that must withstand high pressure, an Airbus spokesperson said. P&W had resolved both of those problems in the fourth quarter previous year, parent company United Technologies reported last month.

An Airbus spokesman said it is "in discussions with customers about delivery schedules" on a case-by-case basis.

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