The number of aircraft that IndiGo, the nation's biggest carrier by market share and fleet size, will ultimately have to ground due to the powder metal problem with its Pratt & Whitney-powered fleet, has finally been estimated.
Due to the powder metal problem, which is additional to the current groundings, which are in the upper forties, the airline anticipates an Aircraft on Ground (AOG) count in the mid-thirties, according to a report by Mint.
This might increase the number of grounded aircraft in IndiGo's fleet to over 80 for the upcoming January through March quarter (Q4-FY24).
This implies that, in terms of fleet size, the airline will have as many grounded aircraft as Air India Express and Akasa Air combined. Presently, Akasa Air operates 20 aircraft, while Air India Express (which once included AirAsia India) has 57 grounded aircraft.
Like many other airlines worldwide, IndiGo has experienced problems with Pratt & Whitney GTF engine performance since the engines were introduced in March 2016. The regulator had to intervene since a delayed induction caused by in-flight shutdowns and warnings that resulted in diversions had become the norm.
Due to the new regulations, inspections had to be completed earlier than anticipated, which resulted in longer aircraft downtime and more work for the engineering staff.
Indigo, however, expects to sticking to its capacity projection for the current quarter, Q3, and FY24 overall, with growth anticipated to be "in the north of mid-teens."
In contrast to specifics, the airline's growth and groundings guidance has changed in the recent few quarters to a broad figure with a prefix of upper, lower, and mid.
The one bright spot in the entire situation is that Indigo was not caught off guard. The airline is inking contracts for 20 A320ceo on dry lease and inducting 11 A320s on wet lease. This will increase capacity in line with what the fleet will additionally ship out.