List the steps taken to assure safety of Pratt and Whitney engines: Bombay HC to DGCA

AgenciesUpdated: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 11:18 PM IST
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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Friday asked the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to list the steps being taken to check the airworthiness of all Pratt and Whitney 1100 engines that power A320neo aircraft.

A bench of Justices Naresh Patil and G S Kulkarni also said that merely grounding some aircraft or following the directive of the European Air Safety Authority (EASA) against the use of P&W 1100 engines belonging to the ‘450 and beyond’ series, was not enough. The court said it was the “duty” of the Union government (UoI) and the DGCA to ensure that all aircraft were safe for travel and passengers were assured of their safety.

“Are you merely relying upon the directive and certification issued by the EASA, or, have you conducted your own study to ensure that all engines, even those that have not been flagged by the EASA, are absolutely safe?” the bench asked.

“Your duty does not end merely at grounding some flights. It is also the duty and responsibility of the DGCA and the UoI to ensure that the people of India feel safe,” it said. “You must widely publicise the steps being taken to ensure that the flagged engines are not being used and that air travel was perfectly safe. Open a window to address the queries and pacify the fear of air travellers,” the bench said.

The directions came after senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, the counsel for IndiGo Airlines, told HC that the airline was replacing all affected engines with “better and new” engines. “However, there is a sort of fear psychosis among passengers now. They keep asking if the aircraft has a P&W engine,” Dwarkadas said.

“This is because the DGCA is not communicating well with the passengers,” he said. The bench was hearing a PIL filed by a city resident Harish Agarwal, seeking appropriate directions to the civil aviation authorities, over recent reports of certain Pratt & Whitney engines powering A320neo planes being more susceptible to engine failures.

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