GoAir has announced the suspension of several flights owing to non-availability of aircraft. The shortage is due to grounding of planes for lack of engines and non-delivery by the aircraft manufacturer. The airline did not specify the number of flights cancelled or the number in shortage.
The budget airline, which has been cancelling certain flights from several routes at short notice in the past weeks, has now come forward to admit that there has been a real demand-supply gap in aircraft that will last till early March, considered a busy schedule.
A GoAir spokesperson said in a statement:
“In the last four weeks, we have gone through unplanned grounding of aircraft [due to lack of upgraded engines to be supplied by Pratt & Whitney], which were supporting our current operation of fleet. And now, we have been informed by Airbus and Pratt & Whitney of their inability to deliver previously promised aircraft and engines through 9 March 2020 that are required to support our current growth.
“As a result, we have been forced to temporarily suspend certain flights that are part of our network, schedule and [are] open for sale. We have undertaken these suspensions as far ahead of time as possible in order to minimize the inconvenience to our customers.
“Despite our best efforts, we realise that our flight suspensions may inconvenience our customers, which we regret and profusely apologise. We expect, with the support of Airbus and Pratt & Whitney, we will reinstate these flights and operate at the earliest opportunity.”
The airline said its currently published schedule incorporated a conservative view of aircraft and engine deliveries as provided by Airbus and Pratt & Whitney to minimise, or eliminate, the need for flight cancellations in the future.
GoAir has 57 aircraft, of which 42 are A320neos with Pratt & Whitney engines. Out of these 42, an unspecified number of planes were grounded as Pratt & Whitney did not supply upgraded engines as per a directive of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
As per the DGCA order, at least one of the Pratt & Whitney neo engines, which has safety concerns, needs to be replaced by May 31, 2020. So, all such aircraft with Pratt & Whitney engines that have crossed the stipulated flying of 3900 hours have been grounded.
Besides this, the scheduled deliveries from Airbus have stopped from December 2019 and it has communicated that it could only resume supplies from March 9. As a result, GoAir has not received four or five new aircraft, resulting in the shortfall.
Out of its original order of 144 A320neo aircraft, 102 are on schedule for delivery till the end of 2025. Every year, the airline is to receive 12 to 15 new aircraft. The sudden disruption in delivery has caused concerns and flight disruptions.