GURUGRAM- IndiGo (6E) Airlines, India’s largest carrier, is exploring the possibility of adding up to 22 aircraft from the secondary lease market. This decision comes as the airline faces the grounding of several Airbus A320 Neo aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines.
This situation is because over 1,000 Pratt & Whitney engines require inspection due to the manufacturer’s discovery of contamination in powder metal defects. This issue could result in the cracking of certain engine components.
IndiGo to Lease A320s
RTX, a U.S.-based aerospace company responsible for manufacturing the Pratt & Whitney engines, recently announced that it will need to recall 600-700 engines between 2023 and 2026. This will result in the grounding of an average of 350 aircraft per year.
Among the airlines affected, IndiGo operates 135 planes and has the largest fleet at risk. Currently, 45 of its planes are already grounded.
IndiGo plans to add 22 Airbus A320 aircraft to its fleet. Among these, 10 will be obtained through short-term wet leases. While the remaining 12 will be acquired through dry leases.
It’s worth noting that wet leases, where the lessor provides both the aircraft and associated services like crew and maintenance, tend to be more expensive compared to dry leases and could result in increased operational costs for the airline.
The 10 aircraft on short-term wet lease will be available to IndiGo for a six-month period. The first of these planes is expected to arrive as early as November, allowing them to be used during the winter traffic season.
Sources have indicated that IndiGo specifically sought A320 aircraft equipped with V2500 engines. These engines are commonly used in older generation A320 planes and are known for their lower fuel efficiency.
Search for Non Pratt and Whitney Aircraft
IndiGo is actively searching for non-Pratt & Whitney (P&W) aircraft. However, due to existing supply constraints, securing Airbus A320Neo planes might be challenging. As a result, they may opt for an A320 Ceo (current engine option) aircraft in the short term to maintain capacity levels.
The airline had previously stated its intention to increase capacity by 25% in the second quarter of FY24, which represents a 6% growth compared to the first quarter.
Regarding the latest developments, an IndiGo spokesperson mentioned, “We are in receipt of the recent information from P&W regarding the outcome of the latest engine inspection. We continue to work closely with P&W to assess the potential impact on our fleet. Subsequently, implement mitigation measures as required.” The company is exploring various options to meet customer demand.
Pratt & Whitney’s PW-1100G geared turbofan (GTF) engines, known for their fuel efficiency gains of over 15%, have faced technical issues since their introduction in 2016, resulting in multiple in-flight shutdowns.
In 2019, aviation regulator DGCA mandated that airlines must replace these faulty engines before introducing new aircraft into service.
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