Spirit Airlines has parked three Airbus A320neos due to a known, fleet-wide problem with a carbon air-seal within the PW1100G geared turbofan engines, Pratt & Whitney tells FlightGlobal.

Airbus has delivered five A320neos to Spirit, but three are parked temporarily at Dallas/Fort Worth International airport.

The PW1100G entered service in January 2016 with Lufthansa, but three engine defects quickly emerged in operational service. The first problem, a tendency for the rotor shaft to bow slightly due to a heat differential between the lower and upper surfaces, was resolved across the fleet last October, but two issues still remain.

P&W is working to redesign the combustor liner after discovering the material wears out faster than expected, but a fix is scheduled to be available by September.

The third problem is a need to redesign the carbon air-seal assembly around the high-pressure compressor’s third bearing. In February, P&W said the improved design was expected to be available by this month, and P&W confirms the Spirit A320neos are parked because of that issue.

Spirit has managed the disruption caused by the engine maintenance problem by contracting with Miami Air to handle flights assigned to the three A320neos, says a Spirit spokesman. "The issues with the [A320]neos has caused a spare engine problem for Spirit," he adds. "We are working with the engine manufacturer to provide the needed support."

P&W still plans to deliver 350-400 geared turbofan engines this year, supporting the A320neo and Bombardier CSeries fleets in service. About 50 of those engines will be set aside to replace already delivered PW1100Gs and PW1500Gs, as they are removed from operational aircraft to install the new carbon air-seal assemblies and combustor liners.

Additional reporting by Ghim-Lay Yeo

Source: Cirium Dashboard