Spirit Airlines CEO Ted Christie described the decision to ground seven Airbus A320neo aircraft till the end of the year as yet another “disappointing development.” The grounding is due to a problem with Pratt & Whitney’s GTF engines.
Following the discovery of a quality control issue by Pratt & Whitney, RTX, the company that owns the engine manufacturer, informed analysts on an earnings call last week that several Airbus passenger jets will need to have their engines removed and inspected.
A rare condition in the powder metal
According to RTX, fleet checks will need to be expedited due to a “rare condition” in the powder metal used to create some parts built between late 2015 and mid-2021. The Airbus A320neo, a midsize jet popular for short- and medium-distance trips, is usually powered by the engine in question.
According to RTX, about 200 Pratt & Whitney PW1100 engines will need to be removed and inspected by mid-September, and a further 1,000 engines will require inspections over the course of the following nine to twelve months.
According to Christie, the initial collection of engines that Pratt & Whitney designated for evaluation includes 13 engines from Sprit.
Seven Neo aircraft will be taken out of planned service as a result of the present plan, which is to start taking these engines out of service after Labour Day.
Christie claims that the airline’s September revenue will be adversely impacted by the proposal. The majority of GTF-powered NEO aircraft are operated by Spirit Airlines in the US.
Weather-related problems and difficulties with air traffic control
He noted that Spirit Airlines generated the “highest number of engines from 2015 to 2021.”
According to Christie, the low-cost carrier should be aware by mid- to late-September whether additional of its engines would need to be taken out.
Due to weather-related problems and difficulties with air traffic control, Spirit Airlines claimed that it had already suffered financial losses.
Spirit Airlines stated in its quarterly report that it saw “softer than expected” demand during the busiest summer travel season due to a shift in consumer preferences towards long-haul international travel.
The grounding of seven aircraft will be in addition to the other seven that are now out of service because of unauthorized engine removals, according to Ted Christie, chief executive officer of Spirit Airlines. “This new issue is yet another frustrating and disappointing development,” added Christie.
The latest engine problem with Pratt & Whitney makes it more difficult for carriers to add more flights since they already struggle with pilots, air traffic controllers, and new plane shortages.