Pratt & Whitney engine issue could ground some planes

An issue with some engines built by Pratt &Whitney could ground some Airbus planes and limit how long others can fly....

Posted: Feb 10, 2018 3:01 PM
Updated: Feb 10, 2018 3:01 PM

An issue with some engines built by Pratt &Whitney could ground some Airbus planes and limit how long others can fly.

The issue has prompted the European Aviation Safety Agency to put emergency restrictions on flying certain Airbus A320neo and A321neo planes that are outfitted with a Pratt & Whitney engine, according to a directive published by the European Aviation Safety Agency on Friday.

The engine issue has been linked to "several" reports of "in-flight shutdown," European officials say.

Airbus brought the issue to the European aviation agency's attention, a spokesperson said, and the company has outlined safety recommendations for airlines until Pratt & Whitney can fix or replace the engines.

Related: Airline bumpings at lowest rate in over two decades

"This is something done hand-in-hand with the regulators to put some teeth behind the recommendations that we made," an Airbus spokesperson said.

The Pratt & Whitney engines are installed in about 113 Airbus A320neo planes across 18 airlines -- the majority of which are in India and Europe, a Pratt & Whitney spokesperson told CNNMoney.

Not all of the engines are affected by the issue, though the spokesperson declined to say how many.

"We have identified the potentially affected engines and communicated with our customers," Pratt & Whitney said in a statement.

The problem stems from a component in the engine that can show early signs of wear, and it's located in an area that must withstand high pressure, an Airbus spokesperson said.

Hawaiian Airlines said in a statement that it's identified one plane in its fleet -- an Airbus A321neo -- that may be impacted.

"Although we have not experienced any related issues with our engines, we immediately removed the plane from service," the airline said in a statement. "We are working with the engine manufacturer to replace the affected engines and to understand the longer-term implications of this situation."

A320neo operators with Pratt & Whitney engines have been plagued by reliability issues since they began flying passengers in 2016. Pratt spent billions to develop the new geared engines and some issues are common, but that has meant severe headaches for Airbus and its airline customers.

--CNN's Jon Ostrower contributed to this report.

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