New Engine Trouble for Pratt & Whitney, Airbus

15 February, 2018, 06:08 | Author: Laverne Higgins
  • Airbus has briefed airlines and leasing companies on the problem and cannot yet say how long it will take to resolve

The European Aviation Safety Agency, or EASA, on Friday issued an alert, known as an airworthiness directive, instructing operators of some of the Pratt engines to stop using the planes until it can be determined why some of the Pratt engines have experienced in-flight shutdowns.

This issue is isolated to a limited subpopulation of engines. "We are working with the engine manufacturer to replace the affected engines and to understand the longer-term implications of this situation".

Of the 113 Pratt-powered aircraft in operation worldwide, about 30 per cent are equipped with either one or two faulty engines, the planemaker said in an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg News today. "In other words, under the condition that the mandatory requirements of the EAD are met, the PW powered A320neo fleet is safe to fly", Airbus said.

Pratt implemented an engineering change in mid-2017 that was meant to improve the durability of the seal, with the new engines fitted to aircraft from December 2017, but the modified engines "did not perform as anticipated", the company said.

Airbus says around one-third of the in-service fleet of A320neos and A321neos has those engines installed so far, 11 of which are understood to have all two engines of the problematic standard and 21 just one of them. "In late January and early February of this year, four of these modified engines did not perform as anticipated", the company said.

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The GTF (Geared Turbo Fan) is a new generation reactor which competes with the LEAP engines which are co-produced by the duo General Electric-Safran. "Pratt & Whitney will be in a position to provide greater detail around the remediation plan and impact, if any, on its 2018 delivery plan, once the regulatory authorities address its proposed solution", Pratt & Whitney said.

IndiGo said Saturday that it cancelled some flights after the European Aviation Safety Agency warned of a new issue with the engines and said it was investigating.

The problem involves the knife-edge seal in the high-pressure compressor aft hub and can potentially appear on engines starting with serial number P770450.

Bloomberg News reported Sunday that IndiGo, the low-priced airline in India, disclosed three in-flight shutdowns and said pilots have had to turn back before taking off in three other instances.

If one engine fails, a twin engine aircraft can safely land with the other operative engine.

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