IndiGo sets 30,000 feet altitude limit for Airbus A320neo planes

New Delhi: InterGlobe Aviation Ltd-run IndiGo and Go Airlines (India) Ltd-run GoAir, among to first to fly the new Airbus A320neo, have been forced to find ways to deal with vexing technical snags with the Pratt & Whitney engines that power the aircraft.

IndiGo has asked its pilots to fly snag-hit A320neo planes at a lower altitude, 30,000 feet, and not the usual 36,000 feet, to reduce strain on engines even though it will mean higher fuel burn. GoAir CEO Wolfgang Prock-Schauer said in an interview in February that Pratt & Whitney “will support us properly with spare engines and other support needs to be there so we can overcome the initial phase and don’t have any flight disruptions”.

A Pratt & Whitney spokesman said it has no comment on the subject.

Earlier this month, the engine maker said there were no safety issues in the planes and replacement engines were being sent to India when required. Still, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has asked IndiGo and GoAir to increase surveillance of these planes, besides specifying other restrictions on when and where to fly them.

In January, an IndiGo flight had a so-called rejected take-off at Mumbai. In February, a GoAir flight from Delhi had to return to the airport after an engine fire 15 minutes into the flight. In the same month, a GoAir flight had to make an emergency landing and an IndiGo flight had to fly minus passengers to Delhi from Baroda.

Spokespersons for GoAir and IndiGo declined to comment for this story.

Analysts say the two airlines are facing teething troubles that early buyers of new aircraft do. They point to Air India’s troubles with Boeing’s Dreamliner. Usually, such problems are sorted out within the first two years of a new aircraft being launched.

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