The Good, the Bad and the Engine dilemma for IndiGo Airlines

By Ankur Deo | December 8, 2019

IndiGo Airlines has had its fair share of success, impediments, amelioration and decadence in the latter half of 2019. The India-based airline was a special invitee at the Annual General Meeting of world’s leading aviation trade association – the International Air Transport Association in Seoul, in June this year following its plans of expansion in Myanmar, China, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam. With close to a hundred state-of-the-art Airbus A320neo and A321neo aircraft collectively, the airline has one of the most contemporary fleets in the country. However, not all is so exquisite for the largest airline by market share in India.

IndiGo is one of the region’s largest carriers | (c) Natasha Nitturkar


The airline faces fresh deterrents as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) instructed it to gradually cease operations of its older Airbus A320neo series aircraft with glitch-prone Pratt & Whitney (P&W) engines, which are susceptible to damage and have led to multiple snags in the past, including on-ground and mid-air glitches. In fact, as many as thirteen such cases have been witnessed in 2018. In an order placed on November 1, 2019, the DGCA has asked the airline to replace all older versions of the P&W engines in the Airbus A320neo aircraft with new ones. According to the DGCA: ‘Every aircraft added to IndiGo’s fleet should lead to one of those with unmodified engines to be grounded and the new aircraft may be operated on the schedule as was being operated by the grounded aircraft’. IndiGo has confirmed the latest development and has said that it is working closely alongside P&W and Airbus to fix the issue and respond duly to the situation. According to IndiGo, a failure to do so shall lead to large-scale cancellation of flights 31 January 2020 onwards.

IndiGo has suffered countless issues with their aircraft engines | (c) IndiGo

Anew, the airline has been ordering new aircrafts with an intend to expand aggressively. In October 2019, the airline placed a mammoth order for 300 Airbus A320neo series aircrafts (A320neo, A321neo and A321 XLR) estimated worth $33b, with plans to supposedly expand in Asia and Europe; And because of the recent developments involving the DGCA, the choice of engines for these aircrafts remains hanging in the balance. The airline has said they are yet to decide whether to opt for Pratt & Whitney or CFM engines for this order. ‘The choice of engine manufacturer for this order will be made at a later date’ quoted Riyaz Peermohomed, Chief Aircraft Acquisition and Financial Officer of IndiGo Airlines.


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