IndiGo mid-air scare after 22nd engine snag in 2 years

New Delhi: Yet another snag-prone Pratt and Whitney engine (PW) of IndiGo A320 Neo stalled soon after taking off from Mumbai for Hyderabad as 6E-5384 in the early hours of Thursday. While passing flight level 23,000 feet, one of the engines experienced the now common high vibration with a loud bang sound, stalled and had to be shut down.

Since twin-engine planes can land safely on one engine, this Neo (VT-IJD) with just over 100 people on board made a safe emergency landing in Mumbai at 1.39 am — less than an hour after taking off from there at 12.43 am. This is the 22nd snag of PW engines on IndiGo Neos in last two years.

“During ground inspection, low pressure turbine number 3 of engine number 1 that had done 4,006 hours was found damaged. The Neo is grounded in Mumbai. The other engine was a modified one that had done only 1,198 hours and the plane had landed safely on that,” said a person investigating the latest trouble.

An IndiGo spokesperson said flight 6E-5384 (A320) with 95 passengers “operating Mumbai Hyderabad had an air turn back to Mumbai. During the flight, the pilot observed an engine caution message and followed the laid-down standard operating procedures. The aircraft returned to Mumbai and is under inspection at the Mumbai airport. All passengers were accommodated on another flight to Hyderabad.”
Comments from PW have been sought and are awaited.

In the past few days there has again been a spurt in PW engine snags on A320 Neos. People in the know say that such issues are likely to keep happening till the unmodified and more snag-prone PW engines of the Neos are replaced. But airlines and aviation regulators say they have taken steps to ensure safety till that happens.

“The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has insisted and ensured that NO A320 Neo flying with PW engines — a combination used by IndiGo and GoAir — has both unmodified engines. The Neos in India, 106 with IndiGo and 41 with GoAir, have at least one modified engine each under their wings. So while the unmodified PW engine may stall inflight, the modified one will ensure the aircraft lands safely,” said a source.

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