December 19, 2018 / 4:17 PM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-India's IndiGo to upgrade engine software in Airbus A320neos

(Adds details from IndiGo statement, background)

NEW DELHI, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Indian carrier IndiGo said it will retrofit its entire Airbus A320neo fleet with a new software upgrade from engine-maker Pratt & Whitney after one of its planes was forced to make an emergency landing last week due to smoke in the cabin.

The airline will retrofit the planes within three weeks, IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation Ltd, said in a statement on Wednesday.

Low-cost carriers IndiGo and GoAir, which fly the A320neos in India, have faced several issues due to problems with the Pratt & Whitney engines and were forced to ground the planes earlier this year.

Airbus has had a backlog of up to 100 A320neo jets sat on the ground outside factories due to delays in engine deliveries, mainly from Pratt & Whitney, but it says it is catching up.

The incident leading to the emergency landing, which took place on Dec. 11, is the latest snag for IndiGo, Airbus’ biggest customer for the A320neo, all of which so far have been fitted with Pratt & Whitney’s engines for the airline.

The issue occurred in the engine’s No.3 bearing seal, IndiGo said, with smoke from an oil leak in the engine entering the air system. A spokeswoman added that there was no fire onboard and there was no earlier report of any malfunction with the airplane.

“Pratt is continuously developing fixes to improve the reliability of the No. 3 bearing seal,” IndiGo said, adding that the engine-maker, owned by United Technologies, has introduced a software upgrade to mitigate the problem.

Pratt & Whitney declined to comment.

Earlier in the day, local media reported that Pratt & Whitney had informed the Indian aviation regulator that they were modifying some of the A320neo engines to address the issue by lowering the temperature of the combustion chamber by 40 degrees.

We have been informed that Pratt & Whitney engines fitted in the A320neo that have done less than 800 hours of operation are getting an upgrade where the combustion chamber’s temperature will be reduced, BS Bhullar, directorate general of civil aviation told local media.

Reporting by Aditi Shah; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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