New Delhi: Stringent air safety regulations are expected to make India the first country in the world, whose domestic airlines will replace both Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engines on their entire fleet of Airbus 320neo aircraft by the early part of 2020.
Significantly, the country is expected to achieve the mark much before the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandated deadlines for their regulated airlines.
India’s domestic airlines — IndiGo and GoAir — will become the first passenger carriers in the world to have achieved this task. The move is expected to greatly improve in-flight safety.
“India will become the first country in the world, where airlines’ operating A320neo aircraft will get both PW engines replaced. This will be achieved even before the deadlines set by either EASA or FAA,” a senior Directorate General of Civil Aviation official told IANS here.
The European agency has a deadline for placement of one modified engine by March 2020 and its Air Worthiness Directive for replacement of both engines is expected soon.
In all likelihood this might stretch up to the second half of 2020, while its US counterpart has set a deadline for November 2020.
At present, IndiGo operates a fleet of over 100 A320 family of aircraft. The development assumes significance as 2019 has been marked with several instances of in-flight engine shutdowns in A320neo aircraft fitted with P&W engines. However, these shutdowns were conducted through “commanded shutdowns”.
“Safety can not be compromised in any manner. We will keep on pressing the airlines to meet the January 31 deadline, however, after careful consideration of the progress made, we might extend the deadline a bit further,” the official said.
It takes about 15-16 hours to replace an engine, depending upon availability of spares.
Last month, in a breather to the two low-cost airlines, the regulator had extended the deadline for replacing some of their old faulty P&W engines by November 24.
This was done to install the modified ‘Low-Pressure Turbine’ (LPT) engines on their planes.
Soon afterwards, the regulator directed that all faulty PW engines should be changed by January 31, 2020. Non-compliance with the DGCA directives would result in grounding of their fleet. (IANS)
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