Spirit Airlines began delaying flights last night to perform inspections on the engines of its Airbus fleet, a move that comes after an engine failure on a Spirit Airbus A319 on 15 October.
“Following the engine failure on one of our aircraft last week, and after reviewing routine maintenance procedures, we are completing a proactive and voluntary check on our aircraft engines overnight as a precautionary measure,” the airline says in a statement to Flightglobal.
Spirit’s statement, received midday today, adds that the airline completed inspections on all but one aircraft.
Spirit did not specify what its technicians were looking for.
The Miramar, Florida-based carrier operates a fleet of nearly 51 Airbus A319s, A320s and A321s. All of those aircraft have International Aero Engines (IAE) V2500 powerplants, according to Flightglobal's Ascend Online database.
Spirit says that the checks take about 45min, but some flights out of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International airport have been delayed up to eight hours, according to media reports.
“Some flights are experiencing significant delays as we complete the checks. Each aircraft is being returned to service as soon as the check is completed,” Spirit says.
On 15 October, the crew on a Spirit A319 operating from Dallas/Fort Worth to Atlanta received indication of a "possible mechanical issue", and there was smoke in the cockpit, Spirit said last week.
One engine was shut down as part of "normal procedure under these circumstances", and the aircraft returned and landed safely at Dallas/Fort Worth International airport, said the airline.
No one was injured in the incident.
IAE tells Flightglobal that it is “working with the National Transportation Safety Board to assess the Spirit Airlines incident”, but adds it cannot comment on investigations.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) refers questions about Spirit’s “voluntary inspections” back to the airline.