European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has issued an emergency airworthiness directive (ADs) warning of a potential “dual engine” inflight shutdown on A320neo family aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan (GTF) engines.
Indian Carrier, IndiGo has also grounded three of its Airbus A320 new engine option (Neo) aircraft, following a safety alert issued by EASA over some variants of the Pratt & Whitney engines used on them globally. This grounding from Friday has led to some flight cancellations of IndiGo. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India, Chief said that “Indigo has three such aircraft, which have been grounded. Go Air A320neo fleet has no such issue.”
A Pratt spokesperson said the issue relates to the knife edge seal in the high pressure compressor (HPC) aft hub on a “limited subpopulation” of PW1100G engines.
Airbus said it is “assessing the situation” after the EASA issued ADs. EASA said that “several occurrences of inflight shutdown and rejected takeoff have been reported on certain” A320neo family aircraft powered by GTF engines.
There are 113 A320neo family aircraft powered by GTF engines in service (the CFM International LEAP-1A engine is also an option on A320neo family aircraft). According to Airbus, 43 GTF engines are affected by the AD. Both A320neos and A321neos are affected.
EASA said aircraft with two affected engines can only operate three more cycles. It is also ordering extended-range, twin-engine operations (ETOPS) limitations. Airbus has issued an Alert Operators Transmission (AOT) providing instructions “to de-pair the affected engines and discontinue (ETOPS) for aircraft fitted with affected engines,” according to EASA.
EASA said the batch of affected engines begins with serial number P770450, but neither the aircraft manufacturer nor the agency disclosed what airlines are operating aircraft with affected engines.
“We have identified the potentially affected engines and communicated with our customers,” the Pratt spokesperson said. “As a precaution, aircraft with these engines will be addressed in a manner consistent with the operational instructions issued by Airbus and coordinated between Airbus and Pratt & Whitney as needed.”
Airbus said in a statement that Pratt is “investigating the root cause of this new finding with the full support of Airbus.”
The issue is the latest in a string of problems that have bedeviled the GTF program. The A320neo’s planned 2015 entry into service was pushed into 2016 because of GTF issues, and both Airbus and Bombardier have blamed Pratt for A320neo family and CSeries aircraft delivery delays.