Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
Culture&Arts | By Darrell Mcdonald

Airbus stops A320neo deliveries on safety fears

Airbus stops A320neo deliveries on safety fears

Mumbai: The aviation regulator DGCA has ruled out grounding the Pratt & Whitney-powered Airbus A320Neo fleet despite the recurring serious safety issues with the faulty new engines.

In a statement on Friday P&W said: "We have identified the potentially affected engines and communicated with our customers".

The P&W Purepower GTF engines while key to the improved efficiency of these aircraft, had a long string of problems during testing and in service. The GTF engine has demonstrated its promised ability to reduce fuel burn by 16 percent to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 50 percent to the regulatory standard, and to lower the noise footprint by 75 percent.

An issue with some engines built by Pratt &Whitney could ground some Airbus planes and limit how long others can fly.

EASA's safety bulletin also bans airlines from using A320neo jets on extended trips over water or isolated areas when one of the engines comes from the suspect batch. United Technologies said Monday that approximately 55 engines delivered to the Airbus final assembly line awaiting installation on customer aircraft were also affected. "IndiGo has only three such affected aircraft".

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"Pratt & Whitney is working with Airbus to implement the remediation plans set forth in its all operator transmission".

Airbus said of the total 113 aircraft worldwide, some 10 per centhave both engines affected. Soon it emerged that Airbus was halting deliveries of Pratt-equipped models, including to the plane's biggest customer, India's IndiGo. In order to cascade info and mitigating measures in a timely manner, Airbus and EASA agreed to issue an Emergency Airworthiness Directive (EAD) to ensure continued safe operation of the PW A320neo fleet.

It's hard to assess how this latest setback will affect United Technologies' short-term profitability or its goal this year of nearly doubling the 374 engine deliveries it made in 2017, but it doesn't seem good. Fellow Dow stock General Electric (GE), which makes the rival Leap engine, climbed 3.4%, though the Leap has run into its own production problems.

P&W added that preliminary findings indicated that the problem was with the knife edge seal on the modified aft hub of the high-pressure compressor.

IndiGo said Saturday that it cancelled some flights after the European Aviation Safety Agency warned of a new issue with the engines and said it was investigating.

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