Indigo Races to Modify Older GTFs

The ongoing problems of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 and GE9X engine programs, as well as the Boeing 737 Max debacle, mean that little attention is paid any longer to Pratt & Whitney’s travails entering its geared turbofan (GTF) into service.

Yet while most of that engine’s problems have been fixed, their legacy is still being felt by some PW1100G operators.

One of the biggest is Indian low-cost carrier Indigo, which on Nov. 1 was ordered by Indian regulator the DGCA to replace older, unmodified versions of the PW1100G across its fleet of roughly 100 Airbus A320neos.

That directive followed several in-flight shutdowns of aircraft with the older engines.

Indigo has said that roughly half of that fleet now has modified engines, but the DGCA is nonetheless concerned that the airline will miss the Jan. 31 deadline to complete the modifications.

“If left unaddressed, we may find ourselves in a situation, in which, we remain saddled with large number of aircraft with unmodified engines,” said the DGCA, adding that it would ground any Indigo aircraft left with the older engines by the deadline.

Naturally, this would hit the airline’s expansion plans and, given the Indigo has suffered earlier geared turbofan disruption – both technical and due to delivery delays – it was little surprise at the Paris air show that the airline switched to the CFM LEAP for an order for an additional 280 A320neos.

Indigo also agreed a long-term service contract spanning spare engines and overhaul support with CFM.

Pratt & Whitney might argue that the Indian airline was merely spreading risk across its huge orderbook, but there was no such move from Airasia, which stuck with the LEAP for a further 100 A321neos, a decision that will eventually take its LEAP fleet to more than 800 engines.