NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Airbus does not expect deliveries of its A320 NEO jets to be significantly affected by recent problems with the Pratt and Whitney engines, CEO Tom Enders said on Friday.
Enders said that while issues with the engines were “unfortunate” they were teething troubles and Airbus was working with the airlines, the engine maker and government and safety authorities to resolve them.
“I do not see that over time this will largely impact our delivery schedule,” Enders told reporters at an Airbus event in New Delhi.
Airbus began rolling out the A320 NEOs in January last year and has delivered about 70 to customers worldwide so far - the bulk of them to Indian carriers IndiGo, owned by InterGlobe Aviation, and privately owned GoAir.
India has stepped up inspections of A320 NEO planes fitted with Pratt and Whitney engines but sees no immediate safety issues, a senior government official said on Friday.
The move follows at least two incidents at IndiGo and GoAir involving A320 NEO aircraft, which India’s aviation regulator is investigating separately.
“Inspections are now required at earlier frequency ... The quicker examinations will ensure complete safety of the flying operations,” R.N. Choubey, secretary at the ministry of civil aviation told Reuters on the sidelines of the Airbus event.
Two GoAir A320 NEOs made emergency landings following technical issues last month, and in January an IndiGo flight was aborted after one of the plane’s Pratt and Whitney engines developed a fault while accelerating for take-off.
Pratt and Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, has told Indian officials it is looking into the issues and any technological improvements, if required, will be communicated and carried out, Choubey said.
The Indian regulator has also asked airlines to inspect Pratt and Whitney engines more frequently and ordered them not to fly A320 NEO aircraft if metal chip particles are detected in the jet’s engine oil - one of the common issues the engines have faced.
Only a small part of IndiGo and GoAir’s fleets are A320 NEOs, but the numbers are set to grow rapidly as IndiGo has ordered 430 of the jets and GoAir is set to add more than 100.
IndiGo’s Chief Financial Officer Rohit Philip told reporters on Friday that there was no financial impact yet from problems with the Pratt and Whitney engines fitted on its A320 NEO aircraft.
Philip said that 180 of its order of A320 NEO jets will have Pratt and Whitney engines, but it is still considering the choice of engine for the remaining 250. He said he didn’t expect delivery schedules to be affected by the engine issues.
Reporting by Aditi Shah; Writing by Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Malini Menon and Susan Fenton