The New Zealand national flag carrier Air New Zealand has been forced to ground two aircraft due to a worldwide global aircraft engine shortage.
The two aircraft affected by the grounding measure are from the carrier’s short haul fleet. The aircraft types affected by the engine supply issues are the Airbus A320neo and A321neos which are equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines.
The aircraft concerned are utilised on the airline’s short haul network in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as New Zealand domestic operations.
According to the local news source Stuff Travel who reported the situation earlier today, the enforced grounding of the two aircraft has impacted almost 150,000 passengers flying with the airline.
The grounding will affect flights between June to October this year according to Air New Zealand General Manager Short Haul, Jeremy O’Brien.
“The majority of customers impacted will only experience a change in time of their flight of up to 90 minutes,” O’Brien said to Stuff Travel.
Global supply issues
Today’s news of the aircraft groundings stems from protracted problems experienced by engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney in sourcing components for the turbofan engines which power the A320neo and A321neo variants.
The ongoing problems with supply from the engine manufacturer has already seen groundings in other world aviation sectors.
Notably, Indian low-cost carrier Go First is considering action against Pratt & Whitney over engine issues which has recently forced the airline to ground a large number of aircraft in its fleet.
Go First has been struggling to keep a large proportion of its fleet serviceable, and several aircraft in service were reported to be facing frequent issues due to the related engine problems.
In 2019, Go First had signed a deal with Pratt & Whitney to provide the PW-1100G geared Turbofan (GTF) engines for their 72 A320neos.
As a result of the ongoing engine issues, the Indian airline IndiGo has now moved away from Pratt & Whitney and is instead using engines manufactured by their rival CFM International.
Air New Zealand engineering and maintenance problems
The ongoing supply problems has now similarly affected Air New Zealand’s engineering supply chain. The airline, like many others operates a range of on-wing engines and maintains a pool of spare engines, including leased options.
In spite of this, the protracted situation with supply from the engine manufacturer has resulted in delays in the course of normal scheduled and unexpected engine maintenance actions.
At this stage, the problems experienced by Pratt & Whitney look set to extend further through the year, and this will raise further issues with the operators of affected engines.