January 8, 2019 / 9:58 AM / 7 months ago

India to question Airbus, IndiGo, others on Pratt & Whitney engine woes -sources

NEW DELHI, Jan 8 (Reuters) - Indian carriers IndiGo and GoAir, aircraft manufacturer Airbus and engine maker Pratt & Whitney will meet Indian civil aviation ministry officials on Tuesday to discuss ongoing issues with engines fitted to A320neo planes, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

IndiGo, India’s biggest carrier by market share, and rival GoAir were forced to ground Airbus A320neo aircraft on several occasions over the past year due to problems with the planes’ Pratt & Whitney engines.

Recent incidents involved an IndiGo aircraft making an emergency landing on Dec. 11 due to smoke in the cabin. In another case on Jan. 3, an IndiGo plane had to return to its base due to a technical problem.

The government officials at the meeting may ask the airlines to refrain from putting into service further planes fitted with the engines - and even ground existing ones - until problems are resolved, the Economic Times newspaper reported earlier on Tuesday, citing an unidentified source.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, GoAir and Airbus did not immediately respond to requests for comment. IndiGo, owned by Interglobe Aviation, and Pratt & Whitney, owned by United Technologies, declined to comment.

IndiGo is Airbus’ biggest customer for the A320neo, all of which are fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines. Low-cost carriers IndiGo and GoAir together have over 500 such planes on order.

Airbus in July said it had a backlog of up to 100 A320neo jets on the ground outside factories due to delays in engine deliveries, mainly from Pratt & Whitney.

Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Euan Rocha and Christopher Cushing

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