IndiGo Receives First Airbus A320neo

March 11, 2016

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Airbus has delivered its second A320neo to IndiGo, two months after the updated model first went into service with Lufthansa.

Deliveries of the re-engined jet have been delayed as engine maker Pratt & Whitney addresses technical problems with its Geared Turbofan engines.

IndiGo has ordered a total of 430 A320neo aircraft, making it one of Airbus's largest customers.

The delivery is three months later than originally planned.

Pratt & Whitney has encountered problems with slow engine startup times and erroneous engine software messages in the new engine, but says the problems will be fixed by June.

Lufthansa and IndiGo stepped up as the first operators for the upgraded jet after launch customer Qatar Airways rejected delivery in December due to engine teething problems.

On Wednesday, Qatar Airways chief executive Akbar Al Baker questioned the level of testing for performance in extreme Gulf weather conditions and called for performance guarantees.

The extended startup times have improved significantly but threaten congestion due to a shortage of taxi space at Frankfurt Airport, according to German pilot union sources.

Lufthansa has had to put a third pilot in the cockpit in part to deal with the extra work created by error messages from the engine control software, though such measures are also common for training purposes on new aircraft.

Lufthansa declined to comment.

Manufacturers say none of the problems affect flight safety.

Bob Leduc, president of Pratt & Whitney, told an investor conference on Thursday that faulty cockpit readings were not related to engine issues and that a software fix had been delivered to address that problem.

The company also said it introduced a hardware fix to the engines on its production line in late February to address the extra time required to start in certain heat conditions.

Engines with the hardware fix will be delivered in May or June, while those delivered earlier will be retrofitted.

A further software fix is planned for autumn 2016.

IndiGo is expanding its fleet to tap into India's booming air travel market.

It ordered 250 A320neos in August, handing Airbus its largest-ever order by number of planes, and took its total A320-family jet orders to 530.