Govt tells Pratt & Whitney to get grounded planes 'up and running'

The minister said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was waiting for Go First's plan on resumption of flights

Deepak Patel New Delhi
The Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G-JM jet engine of an Airbus A320neo. (Photo: Bloomberg)

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The government has told Pratt & Whitney (PW) to supply engines so that the grounded planes of Indian carriers are “up and running”, Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia said on Thursday.
“We cannot have multiple planes of one engine manufacturer on the ground in India, which is the case today, unfortunately,” Scindia told reporters after an event of industry body FICCI.

Go First stopped operating flights from May 3, stating that almost half of its fleet of 54 aircraft was grounded due to a delay in engine supply from PW. Moreover, about 36 IndiGo planes powered by PW engines are currently grounded. IndiGo has about 140 PW-powered planes in its fleet.
The minister indicated that the other airlines do not have enough planes to immediately start flights and fill the gap left by Go First’s exit.

When asked if the government was pursuing other airlines to fill the gap left by Go First, Scindia replied: “Yes, we are. But you have to understand that servicing that gap is limited not necessarily by an airline’s desire to serve customers, but by the (limited) capacity of their fleet.”
The minister said the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) was waiting for Go First’s plan on resumption of flights.

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“We have very clearly said that we want a resumption of flights (by Go First) as soon as possible. They have to submit their plan to the DGCA. This plan will cover the number of planes, the number of routes. On the basis of this plan, the DGCA will decide how to take it forward,” he added.
When asked if the government has had any communication with PW, he replied, “There are a number of engines (and planes) that are on the ground. As a minister, I cannot get into what the contractual issues are between one company and the other. But certainly, we have impressed upon them that we need to have our planes up and running.”

The minister said the key issue was not the lack of passenger traffic, but the capacity crunch. “This capacity issue is an international one. All major (aircraft and engine) manufacturers are facing supply chain issues. Our airlines have put huge bulk orders and we hope these planes will come as soon as possible,” he mentioned.
He said Go First’s decision to suspend flights was not great for the civil aviation sector. “However, each company has to manage its own situations. As far as the ministry is concerned, we are quite steadfast in our resolve to help airlines with whatever fundamental issues there are,” he added.

India signed the Cape Town Convention (CTC) and Protocol — an international treaty to reduce the risks for aircraft lessors and financiers – in 2008. India introduced a Bill in 2018 to implement the CTC. However, that Bill has not been passed by the Parliament. A new Bill is in the works.
When asked about this Bill, Scindia said: “As you very well know, that is in the works. Once it is ready, it will be presented first to the Cabinet and then to the Parliament.”

First Published: May 18 2023 | 9:50 PM IST

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