An A320neo aircraft operated by IndiGo had to return to Mumbai airport from where it had taken off because of high engine vibrations. This is the second IndiGo A320neo aircraft to have encountered vibration issues with one of its engine. In both cases, the aircraft were grounded, pending inspections and a clearance to fly.
IndiGo flight 6E-236 was flying from Mumbai to Bengaluru when its pilot decided to turn back after seeing a caution advisory in an instrument panel, the no-frills airline that is battling issues with Pratt and Whitney (P&W) engines said in a statement.
"An IndiGo A320neo aircraft was operating Mumbai-Bangalore this morning. During flight, the pilot observed a caution message. Standard operating procedures were followed and the aircraft was returned to Mumbai as a precaution," IndiGo said in a statement.
On December 2, another Indigo A320neo flying from Chennai to Hyderabad faced the same issue and had to be grounded after landing.
IndiGo is increasingly flying into turbulence ever since the DGCA's American counterpart Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) last month told operators of the A320neo across the globe to urgently modify a critical component of the aircraft's low-pressure turbine.
"These conditions, if not addressed, could result in uncontained release of the LPT 3rd stage blades, failure of one or more engines, loss of thrust control, and loss of aircraft," the DGCA said in November.
In other words, potentially faulty engine blades operated by IndiGo on its A320neo could break free during a flight, resulting in an engine failure and a loss of power, which, in turn, could end in a fatal accident.
In a presentation to investors and analysts, IndiGo said the P&W engine issue is "likely to have an impact on future capacity", though it's unclear whether present flight schedules will be hit.
The DGCA has ordered the airline to replace all problematic Pratt & Whitney engines by the end of January or else these aircraft would be grounded. At the moment, the airline is struggling to meet this requirement.
In the meantime, the DGCA has ordered IndiGo to replace all its A320neo aircraft operating with unmodified engines with new build A320neo aircraft which the airline continues to induct as part of an ongoing contract with Airbus.
The airline presently receives several new aircraft every month from the European manufacturer.