DGCA grounds two Go First Airbus A320neo aircraft after engine snag
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has ordered the grounding of two Go First Airbus A320neo aircraft that suffered mid-air engine snags on Tuesday.
A Go First aircraft operating a Mumbai-Leh flight was diverted to Delhi due to a fault in the engine interface unit.
In another instance, a Delhi-bound plane was forced to turn back to Srinagar due to snag.
“We are investigating the incidents. Both aircraft will be grounded and will fly only after clearance from the DGCA,” said a senior executive.
The civil aviation regulator is likely to seek details from engine manufacturers about frequent snags and steps taken to rectify them.
The regulator action follows its directive to airlines on Monday to deploy adequate aircraft maintenance engineers (AMEs) at all airports.
Go First Airbus A320neo planes are powered by Pratt & Whitney (P&W)-geared turbofan engines. The airline has 57 aircraft in its fleet — a majority of which are of the A320neo variant. Around a dozen of its planes are already grounded as it awaits delivery of upgraded version of engines.
IndiGo has over 280 planes, including 190 A320 and A321neos powered by P&W and CFM engines.
Air India and SpiceJet’s narrow-body fleet of Airbus and Boeing planes are equipped with CFM engines.
Vistara’s Airbus and Boeing 737 planes are largely powered by CFM engines.
In the past few months, there have been several instances of engine snags, leading to commanded shutdowns during flights or turn-backs to departing airports.
Last Friday, an IndiGo A320 aircraft operating between Delhi and Vadodara was diverted to Jaipur due to engine vibration.
The incidents have prompted DGCA to carry out spot checks at various airports. These revealed that the cause of defects was not being properly identified. Insufficient number of engineering personnel certifying planes of various carriers before take-off was another worry. It also found that airlines were giving frequent one-off authorisations to certain junior-ranking engineers, flouting regulations.
Before each departure, an aircraft is checked and certified by an AME. The DGCA has now issued guidelines for airlines on the deployment of qualified AME personnel and directed them to comply by July 28.
The spot checks also found that AME teams of airlines are improperly identifying the “cause of a reported defect”, the DGCA order noted.
P&W did not issue a statement on Tuesday’s incidents, but sources said it is working with Go First to address the challenges.
Go First too did not issue a statement on Tuesday. “For Go First maintaining the reliability of aircraft and maintaining the safety of our passengers is our top priority. Go First has a fleet of 57 aircraft the average age of which is less than four years and it is probably the youngest fleet in India,” the airline had said in a statement last week.
On July 17, IndiGo’s Sharjah-Hyderabad flight was diverted to Karachi as a precautionary measure after pilots observed a defect in one engine.
On the night of July 16, the Calicut-Dubai flight of the Air India Express was diverted to Muscat after a burning smell was observed in the cabin mid-air.
A live bird was found in the cockpit of the Air India Express Bahrain-Kochi flight on July 15.
SpiceJet is under the scanner right now. On July 6, the DGCA issued a show-cause notice to SpiceJet, following at least eight incidents of technical malfunction in its aircraft since June 19.
The DGCA is currently investigating all these incidents.
There have been multiple technical malfunction incidents in planes flown by Indian carriers in the past one month. Over the past three days, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia has held multiple meetings with airlines and officials from his ministry and DGCA officials to ensure safety oversight.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.
Comments are closed.