Aviation minister Jayant Sinha said India’s largest airline Indigo and competitor Go Air can use their grounded planes if they are able to secure ‘alternative engines’ to be used in place of the faulty ones.
“We do not consider these engines safe,” Sinha said in the context of the aviation sector regulator’s directive to ground 11 Airbus A320 Neo aircraft yesterday.
“Indigo and Go Air are looking for alternative engines. They will operate the flights when they get the alternative engines,” he added.
The aircraft were grounded after an IndiGo flight to Lucknow was forced to make an emergency landing in Ahmedabad due to the latest in a series of engine problems on the super fuel-efficient aircraft.
The grounded aircraft are fitted with PW1100 engines made by US-based Pratt & Whitney and carrying engine serial numbers beyond 450.
Sinha said only 43 such engines are in use in the world and 19 of them are in India, with Go Air and Indigo.
“We must give the highest priority to safety.. Technical analysis is being carried out on these. When the technical work is over and the engine is considered safe, only then can these engines be used,” he said.
The two airlines have been directed not to ‘retrofit’ such engines on to any existing aircraft. It is estimated that they have spare engines belonging to the specified make and model.
Indigo has canceled 47 flights due to the grounding of the aircraft. However, said the airline, all affected passengers have been accommodated on alternative flights.
Meanwhile, Vistara said the move by the aviation regulator has had no impact on its operations as its A320 Neos are fitted with a different engine.