European aircraft manufacturer Airbus and its American supplier Pratt & Whitney announced Friday that they had identified a new problem on the aircraft engines fitted on the A320neo.
In brief, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued, as usual, an emergency airworthiness directive in which it explains that “several engine stops in flight as well as takeoff interruptions have been reported” .
The agency pointed out that an investigation was under way to determine the exact source of the problem, while stressing that if the problem was not solved, “it could lead to the shutdown of both engines”.
In a statement, Airbus said it had informed the airline customers affected by the issue.
“Following a problem identified on a limited number of recently delivered Pratt & Whitney GTF engines involving the rear hub of the high-pressure compressor rotor, Airbus and Pratt & Whitney are reviewing the situation,” writes the aircraft manufacturer with no further precision.
“This problem is isolated and limited,” assured Pratt & Whitney, a subsidiary of the US industrial conglomerate United Technologies. “We identified the potentially affected engines and got in touch with the customers.”
In total, about thirty engines, one or two engines per plane, are affected, according to a source close to the problem. Eleven planes are currently, according to the source, grounded the time to change the engines. Airbus also expects the engine manufacturer to resolve this new problem on the GTF as quickly as possible.
About 113 Pratt & Whitney engines currently equip the A320neo family of aircraft, which are used by 18 customers.
According to a source close to the case, the problem was discovered late January in some airline companies.
This is the second problem affecting Pratt & Whitney GTF engines since the start of their marketing, the first causing delays in 2017 in delivery of the A320neo, the re-engined version of Airbus’ single-aisle plane. Airbus thus delivered only 181 A320neo instead of 200 initially expected.
The GTF (Geared Turbo Fan) is a new generation reactor which competes with the LEAP engines which are co-produced by the duo General Electric-Safran. Approximately 374 units were delivered in 2017.