(Updates with CEO comments on A320neo)
By Aditi Shah
NEW DELHI, Aug 1 (Reuters) - Indian budget airline IndiGo might have to delay taking delivery of more Airbus A320neo planes to allow Pratt & Whitney time to sort out engine problems, the carrier’s owner said on Monday.
IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, has ordered 430 A320neo narrow-body aircraft in total, making it one of Airbus’s largest customers.
InterGlobe President Aditya Ghosh said IndiGo still expects to have a total of 24 A320neo planes in its fleet by the end of this fiscal year ending March 31, 2017, if there are no delays in taking delivery due to engine problems.
“Pratt & Whitney and Airbus both are trying very hard to fix the issues. Right now we just want them to focus on that and meet those timelines they have given us,” Ghosh told a call with analysts.
Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, has encountered problems with slow engine startup times and erroneous engine software messages in the new engine, already causing a delay in the delivery of planes to customers.
IndiGo, India’s largest airline, received its first A320neo in March after a three-month delay and has taken delivery of another four since then.
“Operationally the A320neo continues to be a challenge,” Ghosh said, adding that problems with the engines on its existing A320neo planes were making it difficult for IndiGo to maintain flight schedules.
InterGlobe reported a 7 percent fall in net profit for the fiscal first quarter on Monday, blaming competitive air fares in India’s booming aviation market that is clocking up 20 percent annual growth in passenger numbers.
Net profit for the April-June quarter fell to 5.92 billion rupees ($89 million), from 6.39 billion rupees a year ago. Total income from operations at the budget carrier rose 8.7 percent to 45.79 billion rupees.
IndiGo said it increased its fleet size to 109 during the quarter. The company also reduced its debt by 4.59 billion rupees to 27.86 billion rupees by retiring debt related to three aircraft taken on a finance lease. ($1 = 66.7500 Indian rupees) (Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Susan Fenton)