India took the drastic measure of grounding all Airbus SE narrow-body planes powered by the latest Pratt & Whitney engines, removing the aircraft from the country’s skies after a series of in-flight incidents.
A320neos with even one Pratt engine featuring a seal found to cause vibrations are no longer allowed to fly, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation said in a statement Monday. The unilateral action is at odds with the European Aviation Safety Agency, the primary regulator for Airbus planes, which repeated guidance that the jets are safe if they have a single affected turbine.
The move immediately grounded eight aircraft at IndiGo, the nation’s largest carrier, and three at GoAirlines India Pvt. It comes after three in-service shutdowns of aircraft with one PW1100 engine featuring the seal, two of which occurred in the past week, according to the DGCA. Shares of IndiGo reversed their gains Monday in Mumbai and closed 1 percent lower.
The glitch with the so called knife-edge compressor seal is the latest in a series of expensive problems for Pratt in its development of the geared turbofan engine model. The manufacturer, part of United Technologies Corp. had proposed a fix that would see at least one engine featuring an older seal reinstated on planes while it worked on a more permanent solution.