DALLAS — Due to Pratt & Whitney engine woes and supply chain issues, more than 50 IndiGo (6E) and Go First (G8) aircraft have been grounded. According to government officials cited by The Economic Times, the situation has prompted the airlines to investigate wet leasing and other options.
IndiGo, the largest airline in India, is considering a number of possibilities, including slowing down redeliveries through lease extensions, investigating the possibility of reintroducing aircraft to the fleet, and assessing the wet lease options within the confines of applicable regulations.
Pratt & Whitney engines have had several issues since their introduction, including extended groundings, inflight failures, and supply disruptions. The issues have mostly been solved, but there have been some lingering problems, such as low engine performance, high fuel consumption, and high maintenance costs.
Three years ago, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) extended the deadline for both 6E and G8 (then GoAir) to replace unmodified P&W engines on their A320neo planes by three months.
Today, the engine manufacturer is unable to guarantee timely deliveries. The company has been in talks with senior officials from India’s civil aviation ministry about potential solutions to the supply chain issue.
According to a P&W representative, pressures will start to lessen later this year, but budget carriers will still have the option of switching suppliers on the next order.
Effect on the Budget Airlines
Go First has about 61 aircraft, and P&W is its only engine provider, whereas 6E has more than 300 aircraft and two engine suppliers, P&W and CFM.
“Although more slowly than necessary, we nevertheless obtain fresh engines in addition to new aircraft. Other solutions being considered include reducing the number of redeliveries through lease extensions, looking into reintroducing aircraft to the fleet, and assessing wet leasing possibilities within the confines of regulatory constraints,” a 6E spokesperson said.
IndiGo has more than 300 aircraft in its fleet and two engine suppliers: P&W and CFM. Go First has 61 aircraft and P&W is its sole engine supplier.
India’s Growing Aviation Industry
Air India, a company owned by the Tata Group, signed an order with Airbus and Boeing earlier this month for 470 aircraft. Nevertheless, P&W has not been chosen to provide engines for any of these aircraft; instead, GE Aerospace, CFM, and Rolls Royce are to provide the engines.
In recent months, there have been multiple instances of aircraft deliveries being delayed where the airframe was complete but the engines were not accessible owing to supply chain concerns, according to aviation consultancy CAPA.
India has the third-largest civil aviation industry in the world and the fastest rate of growth. Domestic air traffic is also experiencing a strong comeback.
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Featured: IndiGo VT-IUV Airbus A321-271NX. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways