Airbus SE halted all deliveries of its best-selling aircraft, the A320neo narrow-body jets featuring the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G geared-turbofan engine, after the European Aviation Safety Agency issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD) warning of potential in-flight engine failure.
The A320neo is a revised version of the A319, A320, and A321 twin-engine aircraft with a “new engine option” (either the CFM International LEAP-1A or the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G), and large wing tips that help to reduce the jets’ fuel consumption.
EASA announced it had examples of "several occurrences of engine in-flight shutdown" and other in-service incidents with the PW1100G engines. The agency ordered flight restrictions on planes powered by those engines: jets using two affected engines were ordered to stop flying them within three flight cycles; aircraft with one affected engine are restricted from certain extended-range flights.
IndiGo, a low-cost Indian airline, withdrew from service three jets and canceled some flights as a result.
Airbus is reported to be evaluating the situation. Also, a Pratt & Whitney representative reportedly has detailed the engine failures involve a seal in the high-pressure compressor (HPC) aft hub of a limited number of the total PW1100G engines in service. Airbus selected the PW1100 as the launch engine for the A320neo (new engine option) aircraft family, based on its fuel efficiency, noise reduction, and lower CO2 and NOX emissions.
Last summer, Pratt & Whitney reported it had more than 8,000 GTF engines on order, not only for Airbus customers but for buyers of Bombardier and Embraer jets, too. The developer claims it is “the only engine that powers the full range of new regional and single aisle platforms across the 70-220 seat size,” and it has 42% of all announced A320neo series orders.
The performance problem with the engine performance is apparently new, but Pratt & Whitney has had ongoing issues with supply of new engines, leading to delivery delays and reduced revenue forecasts in recent years.