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IndiGo's PW1100G engines 'well within safety limits': airline

Modifications to the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared turbofan engines that power IndiGo's Airbus A320neo aircraft are under way, the Indian low-cost carrier has confirmed.

In an earnings call, chief operating officer Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said the airline had received safety clearance from the US Federal Aviation Administration to continue operating the engines and that they were "well within the [safety] limits".

He reveals that for IndiGo's PW1100Gs, in-flight engine shutdowns were occurring at a rate of 0.02, as compared with the FAA's limit of 0.05.

"The situation is completely under control," says Prock-Schauer.

His comments follow a directive issued by India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation on 17 January to IndiGo and GoAir, instructing them to conduct a series of inspections on the engines to identify and correct potential low-pressure turbine (LPT) and dry face seal failures.

The airlines have also been mandated to carry out weekly inspections of third-stage LPT blades and to conduct borescope inspections on the Number 3 bearing front and aft carbon seal.

Prock-Schauer meanwhile adds that IndiGo only has one A320neo grounded as of 23 January.

As part of the DGCA's directive, IndiGo and GoAir have been barred from operating flights to Port Blair, but Prock-Schauer does not expect any more restrictions. IndiGo will rely on its ETOPS-certificated aircraft for longer-range flights, in particular its A321neos.

IndiGo expects to induct "a large number" of A321neos in fiscal 2020. They will be used on domestic trunk routes as well as for international services.

The carrier expects the A321neo to bring a 10% decrease in seat-mile costs on key routes such as between Delhi and Mumbai.

Flight Fleets Analyzer shows that IndiGo operates 67 A320neo-family aircraft. It has 364 of the re-engined narrowbodies on order, of which 150 are A321neos.

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