The aviation industry is experiencing yet another setback due to a shortage of spare parts, causing many airlines to ground a significant part of their fleet. One manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, has been identified as the source of the problem, with its PW1000G engine family causing the majority of issues. The engines are installed in various aircraft types, including the A320 Neo, A220, and Embraer’s E2 series.
The summer season is approaching, and airlines need their planes to be operational. However, the lack of spare parts and workshop slots for maintenance is causing significant delays and cancellations. Airlines worldwide, including Turkish Airlines, Air Baltic, Indigo, Go First, KLM, Air Tanzania, and Air Sénégal, are all grappling with Pratt & Whitney engine problems.
Turkish Airlines is currently unable to operate four Airbus A320 Neos due to engine problems, and the airline is struggling to find leased spare engines. According to Turkish Airlines boss Bilal Ekşi, the long turnaround times for workshop visits and the lack of operational engines are exacerbating the issue.
Air Baltic is also hit hard by the engine problems, with eleven of their forty Airbus A220s undergoing maintenance or waiting for maintenance. Martin Gauss, the Managing Director of Air Baltic, has accused Pratt & Whitney of not keeping their promise to provide faster maintenance services. As a result, Air Baltic is leasing additional aircraft to fill in the gaps.
Pratt & Whitney has promised to work closely with its customers to minimize business disruption, expand parts shop capacity, and continue upgrades to increase engine uptime. However, this has not solved the problems that airlines are facing.
The lack of repair slots at Pratt & Whitney and the limited availability of replacement engines from their suppliers are the root causes of the engine problems. This has led airlines like Go First, Air Tanzania and Air Senegal to consider legal action against Pratt & Whitney and sue the company for damages while Egypt Air also had and still has problems.
The aviation industry is still reeling from the pandemic’s impact, and the current situation with Pratt & Whitney engine problems is another setback. The airlines’ reliance on Pratt & Whitney engines and the lack of alternatives mean that there is no quick solution to the problem.