DELHI- Given the ongoing Pratt & Whitney engine problems and their impact, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has emphasized the urgent need for Pratt & Whitney to establish a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility in India.
These engine issues have been affecting the new generation PW engines used in Airbus A320neo aircraft for the past 5-6 years.
DGCA Wants Pratt and Whitney MRO
The situation is expected to worsen in the near future as hundreds of these engines around the world will need to be grounded for inspections and maintenance.
IndiGo, with approximately 50 planes currently grounded awaiting Pratt & Whitney (PW) replacement engines, anticipates a significant increase in grounded planes starting early next year due to PW’s latest problem.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) sources emphasized the need for Pratt & Whitney to establish a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility in India.
They stressed that Indian carriers have a substantial fleet, and PW should prioritize their requirements. Earlier, Go First, which ceased operations this summer, had squarely attributed its shutdown to Pratt & Whitney. Last week, a Pratt & Whitney team met with DGCA officials.
When asked about opening a maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility in India, Ashmita Sethi, the president and country head (India) for Pratt & Whitney, told TOI about the company’s commitment to India and its willingness to explore MRO opportunities.
She emphasized that the decision would depend on various factors, including the business case, competitive labor, and parts imports.
However, the situation may deteriorate further before it gets better. Pratt & Whitney recently issued a warning that “600 to 700 engines will be removed for shop visits between 2023 and 2026,” and the accelerated removals and increased shop visits will result in more aircraft being grounded.
The accelerated removals have become necessary due to the detection of “powder metal contamination,” which can lead to engine component cracking.
This poses a significant risk to IndiGo, the world’s largest customer for A320 family aircraft, and could lead to a capacity shortage, causing airfares to surge, as witnessed when GoAir ceased operations this summer.
It is clear that Indian authorities are growing impatient with Pratt & Whitney. They believe that the situation on Pratt & Whitney’s end is not improving, and there is too much uncertainty. They are demanding “visible improvement” on the ground and swift action from Pratt & Whitney.
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