Friday, March 23, 2018

Inspect engines of all jets, not just A320neo: Bombay High Court to Directorate General of Civil Aviation

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Friday directed the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to state the steps it is taking to ensure safety of not only all A320neo using the controversial Pratt & Whitney engines but also aircraft using other engines.

A bench of Justices Naresh Patil and Girish Kulkarni heard a PIL for grounding all A320neo of IndiGo and GoAir airlines. In February, the European Air Safety Authority had directed A320neo fitted with two PW1100 engines with serial numbers “450 and beyond” to be grounded while those with only one such engine to fly.

The DGCA’s advocate, Advait Sethna, said it has grounded seven IndiGo and two GoAir aircraft with PW1100 engines with serial number “450 onwards”. The judges said that “grounding doesn’t mean the issue is over” and that the DGCA must find out the outcome of EASA’s investigations. Also as aviation regulator, the DGCA must inspect engines manufactured by others.

Sethna informed the court that no deficit is found in PW1100 engines with “pre-450” serial numbers which are airworthy and certified by P&W. The judges questioned whether it is the DGCA’s “own technical assessment” or it is relying on “manufacturer’s certification”.

“If EASA or FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) says pre-450 are safe at least there is some sanctity,” said Justice Kulkarni.

Senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for IndiGo, said it is “replacing affected engines with better and new engines”. The judges said the anxiety is regarding “pre-450 engines”.

“You (DGCA) cannot allow panic situation in the country. The Government of India has to be in touch with the people. It is answerable,” said Justice Patil. Dwarkadas admitted that “there is a fear psychosis because we are not communicating right”. He said that recently a passenger complained of a burning smell and asked if it was the engine but it was from a packet of nachos.

The judges said the DGCA must assure passengers of safety and not neglect any incident. “Issue clarification, advisory so that passengers feel confident. What you say they would believe. It would possibly be a tyre burst,” said Justice Patil. The bench said that ”more efforts are required to be taken” and has sought replies of DGCA and both airlines on April 3.

Original article ➤

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