MUMBAI: Airbus will resume global deliveries of its A320neo planes to customers by the end of this month after almost three months, three people in the know said. Indian budget airlines Indi-Go and GoAir will likely get deliveries by the last week of April or early May, they said.
Resumption of deliveries will mean the two airlines can implement their expansion plans, a chunk of which have been kept on hold because of the stoppage in deliveries.
The European plane maker had halted deliveries of the plane — the latest upgrade of the highest selling airliner in the world — in February after a series of snags with Pratt & Whitney made engines that power the planes.
Before the deliveries were halted, there were 113 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo aircraft flying with 18 customers.
IndiGo, the country’s biggest airline by market share, currently has 32 neo planes in its fleet of 160 aircraft. GoAir has 13 in a fleet of 32 planes. Together they account for over 40% of the globally operational neos powered by the PW1100-JM engine.
The latest problem — with the knife edge seal in the high-pressure compressor (HPC) aft hub in the engines of a specific serial number and beyond — came to light on February 9 with an airworthiness directive from European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
The engine maker subsequently came up with a solution, received regulatory approvals to implement it by February 21, and started shipping the engines to Airbus on March 1.
Meanwhile on March 12, India’s aviation regulator the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) mandated the grounding of any neo with even one faulty engine. EASA, which had said both engines would have to be affected to call for a grounding, distanced itself from the DGCA’s decision, calling it “unilateral”.