The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) today told the Bombay High Court that it was taking all necessary precautions in the wake of certain A320 neo planes, powered by Pratt & Whitney engines, being grounded due to engine failures.
Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Mumbai resident Harish Agarwal, a division bench of Justices N H Patil and G S Kulkarni noted the air safety was of utmost importance.
The bench also said the Union government and the DGCA are duty-bound to ensure that full safety measures are taken.
The petitioner had sought appropriate directions to Cvil Aviation authorities over the recent reports that certain A320 neo planes fitted with Pratt & Whitney (PW) engines are more susceptible to engine failures.
In an affidavit filed today, the DGCA said PW engines are safe and airworthy.
“Even if there are problems in the pre-450 series of the PW engines, that does not mean that the aircraft is unsafe or not air worthy. Timely inspection and maintenance would ensure that the engines do not develop any snag,” it said.
The bench said if DGCA experts felt that all measures have been taken then the petition could be disposed of, and posted the matter for hearing on April 16.
“At the end, air safety is of utmost importance. It is everyone’s concern. Take full safety measures to ensure this,” said Justice Patil.
The petitioner had claimed that the European Air Safety Authority (EASA) had issued an airworthiness directive for A320 neo planes fitted with PW1100 engines having a particular serial number, in February this year.
As per the directive, PW1100 engines are classified into two types or series of serial numbers — 449, and 450 and beyond, it stated.
EASA ruled that engines having the serial numbers 450 and beyond had combustion and other safety problems, it said.
“The agency stated that across the world, all A320 neo aircraft with both engines having 450 or beyond serial numbers, should be grounded, while those with only one 450 and beyond could continue to fly,” as per the petition.
As planes of Indigo and GoAir were grounded due to PW snag, the HC, during the last hearing, had directed them to clear their stand before it.
Senior counsel Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for Indigo Airlines, today told the high court that out of the nine Indigo aircraft grounded, engines of six aircraft have been replaced and they are now flying. “Only three remain grounded,” he said.
GoAir counsel Venkatesh Dhond told the court that out of the three aircraft grounded, engines of two aircrafts have been replaced.
Petitioner’s lawyer Aniruddha Deo, however, told the HC that damage to the said PW engines was caused internally and not externally.