India's largest airline by market share, Indigo has finally told its pilots to stop revving up the engines of its new Airbus SE jets to the limit immediately after take-off. Indigo which is India's largest private airline has argued that the practice of pushing the engines to its maximum power may have contributed to failing of turbines during the flight.
As per a report in financial daily, Business Standard, since the start of the year, the budget airline's A320neo aircraft has faced 13 mid-air engine shutdown forcing the flights to land return to the source airport or conduct an emergency landing.
Now, the company has directed its pilots to now use a lower thrust setting following take off to ensure the maximum safety of its crew and passengers. The official word from Indigo stated that the company has taken the decision "in order to make every possible effort to minimize exposure of engines." However, the original engine manufacturers of these aircraft Pratt & Whitney has rejected any connection between climbing procedure and engine incidents.
Why do Indigo pilots push aircraft to maximum limit just after take-off?
The Indian aviation sector is witnessing a cut-throat competition among the airline companies. As per some estimates, the margin in the aviation is as low as $3 per ticket while in some cases it goes up to $5. In such instances, the airline companies are finding ways to maximize their earnings by any means possible.
In the case of Indigo, the pilot is pushing A320neo aircraft to maximum power while ascending in order to burn less fuel it reaches the cruising altitude to less time. As per a report in the Print, its rival airline company GoAir, in contrast, used a so-called alt-climb approach that applies less thrust while climbing and did not face any shutdowns related to low-pressure turbines.
Indigo's directives to its pilots have come after India's Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) found out that full-thrust climbs could be the possible reason which is affecting the engines adversely and probably contributed to the mid-air shutdowns.
Now, the company has directed its pilots not use more than 93% thrust on the Pratt engines of the A320neo-family of jets until they reach 25,000 feet (7,622 meters). After the debacle of Jet Airways, Indigo has consolidated its position in the Indian airline sector.