Worried by an alert by the US aviation watchdog, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation or DGCA has warned IndiGo that its Airbus A-320 NEO aircraft could face a catastrophic situation if they continue to operate with unmodified engines.
Referring to a note by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the DGCA says IndiGo must urgently modify the critical third stage of the low pressure turbine on all the engines of A-320 NEOs that it operates.
''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 other words, potentially faulty engine blades operated by IndiGo on its A-320 NEO jets 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.
Concerned about regular failures of Pratt & Whitney Series 1100 engines operated on the twin-jets, the DGCA has said "efforts undertaken by the operator to replace all unmodified engines on their NEO fleet by 31/1/2020, do not instil enough confidence." Consequently, the DGCA says it may be forced to ground all IndiGo A-320 NEO jets operating with unmodified engines. This would result in "large scale disruptions" in the flight schedule of the airlines, India's largest carrier.
In a statement, IndiGo has said that it is working to modify or replace defective engines as per the DGCA order and that "the current schedule [of flight operations] remains intact."
IndiGo operates approximately 100 Airbus A-320 NEO aircraft, many of which continue to fly with at least one un-modified engine. With IndiGo's engine modification process not proceeding at pace, the DGCA has now said that all new A-320 NEO aircraft being inducted into the airline's fleet will now replace those aircraft that still fly with a problematic engine. These will now be grounded till all engine issues are resolved. The airline has been asked to step up efforts to replace the engine blades which are prone to failure.