IndiGo, GoAir asked to immediately ground 11 'faulty' aircraft

Mid-air engine failure DGCA grounds 11 A320 neo planes with Pratt & Whitney engines

Although eight grounded aircraft are operated by IndiGo, an IndiGo spokesperson said the airline will ground only six aircraft.

The DGCA says that A320neos with engine serial numbers ESN 450 and beyond will be grounded.

The regulatory body also warned the two airlines not to refit the spare engines (PW1100 engines beyond serial number 450) that they have in their inventory.

The DGCA adds that P&W expects to replace all the affected engines "by early June" even though "there is no concrete proposal in place at this stage to address the issue".

The European Aviation Safety Agency has ruled that operations with one defective engine should be permitted provided affected planes don't undertake extended flights over water, where they're more distant from diversionary airports in the event of an emergency. The order applied to eight IndiGo flights and three of GoAir, The Economic Times reported.

However, there is a mismatch between the number of grounded planes given by the DGCA and IndiGo while clarity is awaited from the latter. "EASA has informed that they are evaluating some interim proposals and will be revising the emergency airworthiness directive in due course, as soon as the current affected engines will be modified with a safer interim design", the release said. These were: GoAir A-320 Neo (VT-WGB) after take-off from Leh on February 24; IndiGo A-320 Neo (VT-ITJ) after take-off from Mumbai on March 5 and IndiGo A-320 Neo (VT-ITA) after take-off from Ahmedabad on March 12.

Choubey said the regulator has put in place enhanced safety checks and was satisfied with the measures with respect to the issue of oil chip detection - an issue that had plagued A320 neos powered by P&W engines.

The grounded planes, including the one that had a mid-air failure, all have Neo engines.

DGCA said it has not got a "firm commitment" from the United States engine manufacturer on addressing fresh safety concerns, which forced it to ground the fleet.

The DGCA statement added since then there have been three cases of an in-flight shutdown of A-320 Neos fitted with one affected PW1100 engine.

Pratt & Whitney in a statement said corrective action has been approved and "we have already begun to deliver production engines with the upgraded configuration". GoAir has 13 such planes.

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