New Delhi: India’s largest carrier- IndiGo, is in constant touch with the engine maker Pratt & Whitney (PW) over engine issues leading to grounding of aircraft, IndiGo’s chief executive officer Pieter Elbers said on Monday.
“We’re in constant discussion with Pratt and Whitney to see when did we get clarity what is the focus on the powder metal issue which they have announced. How can we have the the supply chain been up and running, I think we have been very transparent and consistent in our communication here and we continue to work along these two sides, get the information from PW on the one hand side and working on the mitigating measures, on the other hand.. for us to ensure that we can continue to deliver on that capacity guidance,” he said.
When asked about India’s aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA), suggestion to the engine maker to set up a maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) in Asia to quicken the process of delivering engines to the airline, Elbers said: “ As an operator we would only encourage to have manufacturers close to us, it would be easier to communicate, align and share experiences..”
This comes after the airline, on Friday, stated that it expects more grounding of A320neo aircraft from next year.
The airline currently has 49 aircraft grounded due to P&W engine issues. It operates 176 A320neo as part of its fleet of 334 aircraft.
In July, PW had identified a rare powder metal defect, which required accelerated inspections of 200 engines by mid-September. However, in September, PW expanded the estimate and said that 600-700 engines on Airbus A320neo jets would require lengthy quality inspections from 2023 to 2026.
The airline, therefore, had declared on Friday that the number of groundings due to an older issue was in the 40s, and the groundings due to the powder metal issue would be an “incremental number” from January 2024.
The airline, which flies to 115 destinations, posted a net profit of Rs. 188.9 crore in the second quarter (considered to be a lean period for domestic airlines) of 2023-24. In the same period a year ago, the company had recorded a loss of Rs. 1583 crore.
Elbers said that the airline will however, continue to expand its network in the current fiscal and is on track to achieve the target of carrying 100 million passengers , he said.
He also said that the airline that has 970 aircraft on order will start flying to Bali and Medina in the current fiscal.
Commenting on the growing concerns over pilots’ fatigue, the airline CEO said that the matter needs a very considerate, holistic and in-depth approach. “We are taking feedback (on pilot’s fatigue) seriously…We will take international experience, what is the framework for working hours in EU, the US… how does it compare to the Indian framework..,” he said when asked about ways the airline is trying to solve the matter.