Pratt & Whitney’s Engine Dilemma Sparks Flight Groundings for IndiGo
New Delhi, India – IndiGo Airlines (6E) – faces a daunting start to 2024 as Pratt & Whitney’s engine issues threaten to ground more than 30 of its aircraft. This development is part of a broader problem that has sent ripples through the narrow-body aircraft sector, with airlines like Spirit Airlines and European Wizz Air also feeling the pinch.
The Core of the Crisis: A Powder Metal Flaw
The issue at hand originates from a flaw in powder metal used in engine parts—a revelation that RTX first disclosed in July 2023. The defect can lead to cracks, causing operational hazards. RTX has now adjusted its forecast, estimating that between 2023 and 2026, an additional 600 to 700 engines will require shop visits.
IndiGo’s Grounded Fleet Outlook
|Quarter||Expected Aircraft on Ground (AOG)||Additional Information|
|Q4 2023||40 (Already grounded for other engine-related issues)|
|Q1 2024||Mid-thirties (Anticipated due to powder metal issue)||Incremental to current AOGs|
IndiGo’s Proactive Stance
In light of the latest information from Pratt & Whitney, IndiGo predicts that the January-March quarter will be particularly challenging. The airline’s statement underscores the seriousness of the issue, noting that the anticipated AOGs will be in addition to the aircraft already grounded for other engine-related problems.
Global Impact on Engine Removals
|Year Range||Incremental Engine Removals||Notes|
|2023-2026||600-700||Two-thirds planned for 2023 and early 2024|
Capacity Constraints and Operational Shadows
IndiGo, which boasted a fleet size of 334 at September’s end, could see a stark reduction in its operational capacity during the peak March quarter. The looming groundings underscore the fragility of airline operations in the face of technical setbacks.
A Global Concern
The predicament isn’t confined to IndiGo. Wizz Air has already forecasted a 10% capacity reduction for the latter half of the fiscal year 2024 due to similar issues. This underscores a widespread challenge that could affect airline reliability and passenger travel plans on a global scale.
The Road Ahead
The anticipated timeline for addressing these engine issues is up to 300 days from engine removal to reinstallation. With the March quarter shaping up to be pivotal for IndiGo, the airline is set to navigate through what could be one of its most turbulent periods.
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