Airbus stops A320neo deliveries on safety fears

Ruben Ruiz
February 15, 2018

Airbus brought the issue to the European aviation agency's attention, a spokesperson said, and the company has outlined safety recommendations for airlines until Pratt & Whitney can fix or replace the engines.

"We have identified the potentially affected engines and communicated with our customers", the Pratt statement added. We are working to resolve this issue swiftly to minimize disruption.

Since entering service in January 2016, these engines have more than 500,000 hours of passenger service.

Pratt & Whitney said the problem, related "to the knife edge seal in the High Pressure Compressor aft hub", affects "a limited subpopulation" of its PW1100G-JM engines, but gave no details. 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. "We look forward to adding the GTF-powered A320neo and A321neo to our fleet".

India's civil aviation regulator DGCA issued a separate statement, saying the European Aviation Safety Agency had observed "several occurrences of engine in-flight shut-down. and Rejected Take-Off. involving A320neo family aeroplanes".

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

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The company said that they implemented an "engineering change" in mid-2017 that was meant to improve the durability of the knife edge seal for this engine.

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. Customers can choose between the Pratt & Whitney model and a type built by the CFM joint venture between General Electric Co and France's Safran SA.

Indicating that the delay on deliveries may prolong, the company said that the deliveries can begin only after regulatory authorities address its proposed solution.

InterGlobe says low-priced carrier IndiGo has since grounded three of its aircraft "in the interim", and that the issue impacts "a limited sub-population" of engines.

IndiGo disclosed Sunday three shutdowns and said pilots had to turn back before taking off three other times.

ETOPS certification allows twin engine aircraft to fly straight, rather than flying close to airports for diversion in case of an engine trouble.

Other reports by GizPress

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