New Delhi: Failing to make the planes fly after 50 hours, aircraft engines of A320 Neo are now not only a concern for the civil aviation sector in the country but also a threat to the lives of air passengers.

Due to non-availability of spare engines, a total of nine aircraft have been grounded, out of which seven belong to IndiGo and two belong to GoAir. Grounding of these planes have affected about 1,25,000 passengers.

Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu on Friday instructed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to submit a report on the faulty engines of A320.

Due to the poor performance of Neo engines, flights have been cancelled, leading to passenger inconvenience. According to sources, at present, there are 60 A320 Neos with Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engines (41 with IndiGo and 19 with GoAir).

The company that provides spare engines has failed to provide these on time, forcing the airlines to ground the aircraft, IndiGo has claimed. “IndiGo confirms that a few A320 Neo aircraft have been grounded proactively due to non-availability of spare engines from Pratt and Whitney. The release of additional spare engines has been initiated by PW so that all aircraft can be expected to be in service soon. These engine changes are pre-planned and are as per the norms prescribed by the regulator to ensure safe operations,” IndiGo told MyNation.

According to the sources, out of the nine IndiGo Neos that were grounded at the IGI Airport on August 20, two were pressed back into service after a change of engine on August 22 and 23.

The situation is so poor that on August 10, IndiGo had to ground a brand new A320 Neo plane, which had flown less than 50 hours.

IndiGo had sought permission from aviation regulator DGCA to fly this aircraft from Bengaluru to New Delhi on 12 August as a “ferry aircraft” to undergo an engine replacement.