Airbus halts some deliveries, tests after engine snag

Airbus has briefed airlines and leasing companies on the problem and cannot yet say how long it will take to resolve

EASA on February 9 issued an emergency airworthiness directive (EAD), warning of a potential "dual engine" inflight shutdown on A320neo-family aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan (GTF) engines.

The issue impacts a limited sub-population of engines and IndiGo had to ground three of its aircraft in the interim, it added.

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

"Product safety boards of P&W and Airbus, post evaluating the PW1100G-JM engine issue, have decided that all Neo deliveries are on hold 'til further notice", states InterGlobe in a filing with the Indian stock exchange. The rest of the fleet is safe to fly as per guidelines issued by DGCA and EASA, " it said. 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. "In this regard, DGCA, as a precautionary measure, had taken up this issue with the operator to take up the matter with M/s Airbus and M/s Pratt & Whitney", the spokesperson added.

Airbus said of the total 113 aircraft worldwide, some 10 per centhave both engines affected.

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.

The GTF (Geared Turbo Fan) is a new generation reactor which competes with the LEAP engines which are co-produced by the duo General Electric-Safran.

Earlier overheating problems on the Pratt engines have interfered with A320neo deliveries since early past year.

"Pratt & Whitney, in coordination with Airbus, will present to regulatory authorities this week a proposed mitigation plan for the modified configuration", P&W said in a statement.

"Safety of aircraft, passenger and crew at IndiGo is of highest priority and at no time it can be compromised with", the statement said.

Neither the aircraft manufacturer nor the agency disclosed what airlines are operating aircraft with affected engines.

The engine issue has been linked to "several" reports of "in-flight shutdown", European officials say. United Technologies on Monday connected the glitch, which affects the knife-edge seal on the high-pressure compressor, to an engineering change it implemented in mid-2017 to improve the durability of that part.