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DGCA to issue additional safety protocol for airlines using P&W engines

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Indian watchdog of Civil (DGCA) Wednesday said it will issue within a week an additional safety protocol directive to the airlines, which have been facing issues in Pratt & Whitney-powered planes.

In a three-hour meeting Tuesday evening, the civil ministry sat with senior executives of P&W, Airbus, and to review frequent on-ground and mid-air glitches that the P&W engines, powering certain planes, have been facing since their induction in early 2016.

"Based on these latest interactions, DGCA will issue an Additional Directive relating to Safety Protocols within a week to the airlines concerned. The situation is being continuously monitored by DGCA as part of its safety oversight system," the aviation body said in a statement Wednesday.

"So far in India, there have been 12 IFSDs (in-flight shutdowns) since entry into service of NEO engines beginning from March, 2016," it added.

The DGCA noted that the "IFSD"on account of these NEO engines in has averaged 0.02 per 1,000 engine flight hours, which is considerably lower than the stringent global benchmark of 0.05 IFSD rates per 1,000 engine flight hours.

The recurring glitches on the Pratt & Whitney-powered planes have forced the Wadia group-run budget carrier to ground seven Neos, PTI reported on Monday.

The are manufactured by Airbus.

The has 49 planes in the fleet 30 of which are

P&W engine woes had forced both GoAir and the larger rival (which operates 57 such planes) to ground some of the A320 on earlier occasions also.

The said in an official statement on Wednesday: "appreciated the thoughtful exchange of information with the ministry and DGCA. All parties are now aligned on the status of the GTF (Geared Turbofan) program in "

The DGCA said in its official statement, "Most of these IFSDs and other related incidents have happened due to failure of 'Number 3 Bearing' seal, failure of 'Knife Edge Seal', erosion of combustion chamber material, Low Pressure Turbine Rotor Blades damage and issues relating to the Main Gear Box."

"Out of the above causes," it added, "corrective action has been taken by P&W and the airlines in respect of all except issues relating to Main Gear Box which is a recent phenomenon."

The DGCA has been in dialogue with the manufacturers and the certifying regulatory authority -- the (FAA) of -- for these engines.

"It was also noted that FAA and its European counterpart EASA have not declared these engines as unsafe," the DGCA said.

During February and March last year, 14 planes -- 11 of and three of GoAir - were grounded by the aviation regulator DGCA following a series of mid-air engine shutdowns.

Apart from these two carriers, and Vistara also operate A320 Neos but they are powered by CFM engines.

Despite repeated glitches forcing Airbus and P&W to monetarily compensate the operators for each grounding, neither the engine-maker nor the planemaker could provide any so far.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 17:20 IST