RPT-Indian regulator orders IndiGo to modify Pratt & Whitney engines within 15 days

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BENGALURU, Oct 28 (Reuters) - India’s civil aviation regulator on Monday ordered IndiGo to modify its 16 Airbus A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines, linked to in-flight shutdowns, within 15 days to avoid their grounding.

IndiGo’s planes fitted with Pratt & Whitney 1100 series engines that have clocked more than 2,900 hours must have at least one modified engine, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement.

The restrictions come days after India’s top airline, owned by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, posted its biggest-ever quarterly loss hurt by higher maintenance costs from leasing A320ceo planes to fill a gap caused by the grounding of A320neo due to engine issues.

The airline said “it will cooperate with authorities and will comply with the next course of action.”

IndiGo is Airbus’ biggest client for the A320neo planes and while the United Technologies’ Pratt & Whitney engines are fuel-efficient they have consistently caused issues since they entered into service in 2016, forcing IndiGo to ground its planes several times. The DGCA said it found three in-flight engine shutdowns on the planes in October following which it reviewed maintenance and safety data at the airline.

Earlier this year, the DGCA had directed airlines to make extra checks on their A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines as part of new safety protocols after temporary grounding orders affected the planes last year. (Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru and Aditi Shah in Delhi; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)