Last week, the airline dropped a bombshell on IndiGo’s Q2FY24 Earning Call. It expected more aircraft to go out of service in the coming weeks. Today, it was able to speak about just how bad the problem would be.
IndiGo expects headwinds in terms of capacity in the coming days.
An issue with the newer generation Pratt & Whitney GTF engines, which IndiGo uses on many of their A320neo and A321neo aircraft, has caused the airline to ground many of them. At the moment, India’s largest airline, with 334 aircraft as of September 30, 2023, has about 40 aircraft grounded because of the non-availability of engines.
But problems are only going to be aggravated hereon. RTX Corp, which owns Pratt & Whitney, had first disclosed in July 2023 about a “rare condition” of the powdered metal used in their engines, which meant that about 600+ of the more than 3000 engines built between 2015 and 2021 for use on the A320neo/A321neo must be brought back to the shop and inspected for microcracks. Most of the engines would need inspection in 2024 and onwards.
Most of these engines are on aircraft operated by IndiGo, at roughly 135 aircraft. Five other carriers- Air China, Go First, Lufthansa, Spirit Airlines and Volaris—each have at least 40, reported Aviation Week.
Today, IndiGo put out a statement quantifying the impact on their operations. Based on the information provided by Pratt and Whitney, it expects that “mid-thirties” aircraft (between 34 to 38) will be grounded due to these engine inspections in the quarter of January to March 2024. These groundings will be over and above the current aircraft which are grounded.
While IndiGo already stated that they are working on mitigating the impact of these groundings by leasing more aircraft from the market and retaining their older aircraft longer, it goes without saying there will be no 1-1 replacement of aircraft completed during this grounding, which will cause a squeeze on capacity and hence on airfares as well.
IndiGo expects about 35 or so aircraft to be grounded due to new issues with the Pratt & Whitney Engines, which will need the engine maker to take these engines off the aircraft and examine them in a shop. This will be in addition to the over 40 aircraft currently grounded for the lack of replacement engines. That would mean about 22% of its fleet will go into maintenance. A part will be covered by other leased aircraft, but it may or may not be a 1-1 replacement.
What do you think of IndiGo’s situation with the Pratt & Whitney GTF Engine issues?
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