Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has set a deadline of January 31 for low-cost carrier IndiGo to have modified Pratt & Whitney engines in all its 97 Airbus A320neo aircraft at "all costs", or else they will be grounded.
The DGCA warning comes after the airline has reported four engine malfunctions in A320neo planes in the last one week, which "has caused serious concern and resultant disruption".
A320neo - which is an upgraded, more fuel-efficient model of the extremely popular Airbus A320 family -- has been posing problems for many airlines due to its snag-prone Pratt & Whitney engines.
On Wednesday evening, one of the Pratt and Whitney engines of an IndiGo A320neo plane that was heading from Kolkata to Pune evening stalled mid-air, forcing the pilot to return to the Kolkata airport, according to reports. Earlier from October 24 to 26, IndiGo saw three in-flight PW engine shutdowns, which prompted DGCA to visit the airline's premises on Monday to review the maintenance and safety data.
On Monday, the DGCA asked the airline to replace 16 A320neo planes' PW engines, which have been used for more than 2900 hours, by November 12 but it found later that seven more aircraft are flying with such engines. Subsequently, DGCA asked IndiGo to replace P&W engines of 23 A320neo planes by November 19 or warned they would be grounded.
"Kindly note that after that none of these 23 aircraft, which does not have at least one LPT (low pressure turbine) modified engine on its wings, shall be allowed for commercial operation and their schedule will suitably be curtailed till this is accomplished," the DGCA said.