IndiGo Under Safety Audit, Regulator To Look At A-320 NEO Engine Issues

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IndiGo said its operation is run in even more stringent ways as prescribed.

New Delhi:

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has ordered a safety audit of IndiGo, India's largest airline which operates the A-320 NEO (New Engine Option) aircraft which has faced numerous engine issues with its next-generation Pratt and Whitney engines.

"We confirm that there is currently a DGCA audit on IndiGo which is combined with the annual main base audit," IndiGo said in a statement.

In it statement, the airline has confirmed that it has received ''a limited number of show cause notices'' and ''has responded accordingly.'' According to sources, the show cause notice by the aviation watchdog was issued to the airline's Chief Operating Officer and and its Head of Engineering. IndiGo has not replied to a pointed query on whether these two officials have been issued a show cause.

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In a statement, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has said, ''We do detailed audit of all airlines at least once in a year. Indigo is this month. Some other one in June. Every audit involves some actions.'' The DGCA has also confirmed that ''in such audits, current safety issues remain quite a focus.''

Sources have indicated to NDTV that the audit was ordered to look into instances of the airline not reporting incidents involving the A-320 NEO aircraft.

In their statement, IndiGo says it ''refutes the reasons for the audit quoted in your query. We can confirm that IndiGo operation is run in even more stringent ways as prescribed by regulatory framework.''

According to sources, there have been at least 18 cases of mid-air engine failures or problems that IndiGo and GoAir have encountered with the A-320 NEO aircraft since January this year.

Earlier this month, the Delhi High Court had sought responses from the DGCA on a request which sought to ground the Airbus A-320 NEO aircraft fitted with problematic Pratt and Whitney engines.

Last month, the DGCA grounded Indian airlines operating the Boeing 737-MAX aircraft after the crash of an Ethiopian airliner with 157 people onboard. Five months earlier, there was a similar crash of the type in Indonesia in which 189 passengers and crew were killed.

IndiGo operates a fleet of 220 aircraft, including 74 new generation A-320 NEOs.

According to the airline, it had a market share of 43.4 per cent in February this year.

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