One of Airbus’s most popular and newest aircraft is having more than a few problems with it’s engines.
EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency has issued what’s known as an Emergency Airworthiness Directive for all of the Airbus A320neo aircraft with this type of engine. The neo stands for New Engine Option, and are the brand new variant that have quieter and more fuel efficient engines. Most of the aircraft flying today are known as the A320ceo (Current Engine Option).
However very few carriers have had them delivered yet – I’ve flown on a Lufthansa one (pictured above), but there aren’t many about. Also, carriers have a choice of two engine types, one from CFM and one from Pratt & Whitney (P&W). It’s only the P&W ones that are affected.
The airworthiness directive states (my bolding):
“Several occurrences of engine in-flight shut-down (IFSD) and Rejected Take-Off (RTO) have been reported on certain Airbus A320neo family aeroplanes. While investigation is ongoing to determine the root cause, preliminary findings indicate that the affected engines, which have high pressure compressor aft hub modification embodied from ESN P770450, are more susceptible to IFSD.
This condition, if not corrected, could lead to dual engine IFSD.“
Clearly, one doesn’t want to be in an aeroplane with both engines out so it’s a good thing that this has been caught. It’s also not yet apparent what the root cause, and thus the fix is.
Bloomberg is also reporting that all new deliveries of aircraft with the P&W engines are also being stopped with 11 of the 113 aircraft flying, now grounded. All long range, over water flights have also been stopped.
Pratt & Whitney, with the support of Airbus, is in close contact with customers to address the results of a recent finding related to the knife edge seal in the High Pressure Compressor (HPC) aft hub on the PW1100G-JM engine powering the A320neo.
I have no idea what that means or if it’s bad. 😀
It may be that this leads to a few flights being cancelled, with Lufthansa being the major operator of this type in Europe currently. The list of carriers that are affected hasn’t yet been made public.
British Airways have also ordered the A320neo, however with the other type of engines from CFM, that are not affected.
Airbus and P&W’s issues come hot on the heals of a different but similarly major issue that Rolls Royce have been having with the Trent 1000 engines fitted to the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
That’s led to multiple flight cancellations, from multiple airlines, as engines and aircraft are taken out of service due to faulty fan blades. Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, ANA, Air New Zealand and many other carriers have been quite impacted by this. Virgin Atlantic have even had to lease four Airbus A330-200 aircraft to cover the gap.