Due to component concerns, Turkish Airlines has announced plans to ground some of its planes pending an engine inspection. The decision stems from Pratt & Whitney’s parent company, RTX, announcing the recall of hundreds of jet engines for inspection due to suspected contaminated metal in crucial components, raising concerns about potential cracking issues if left unaddressed.
The Growing Challenge
With a fleet comprising 58 Airbus A320 and A321neo aircraft equipped with Pratt’s geared-turbofan engines, the airlines said it was compelled to ground nine of these planes last month due to engine-related problems.
A media relations representative revealed:
“Our expectation is to ground 11-12 aircraft by the end of the year, but due to the uncertainties in the process, there is a possibility that this number will be revised upwards.”
Pratt & Whitney’s Accelerated Engine Inspections
Pratt & Whitney’s parent company, RTX, formerly known as Raytheon Technologies, declared in July its necessity to conduct accelerated inspections due to suspected contaminated metal in engine parts.
The repercussions are far-reaching, with an estimated 350 Airbus jets slated for grounding annually for engine inspections over the next three years, and up to 700 engines will need to be inspected between now and 2026.
There is no doubt that the recall will have a global impact on the aviation industry. Other airlines affected by the recalls have already started planning to cushion the effect on their business. For instance, Air New Zealand plans to lease an additional Boeing 777-300ER to compensate for the reduction in capacity caused by the grounding of some of its A320 family aircraft.
Implications for Turkish Airlines
Despite Turkish Airlines boasting a fleet of 428 aircraft by the end of August, the impact of grounding even a small proportion of their planes is notable. The airline has already experienced a decline in passenger capacity due to the grounding of planes in August.
Nevertheless, the airline remains optimistic, anticipating a 15% to 20% year-on-year growth in capacity for 2023.
Ongoing Negotiations and Uncertainties
The Turkish national carrier is continuing negotiations with the engine manufacturer to address this critical issue. The media relations representative emphasised that since there were still unclear issues regarding the affected engines and maintenance plans, there was a high possibility that there would be changes in the quantities mentioned above in the coming period.
As the airlines navigate these turbulent skies, passengers and industry experts will keenly watch the developments in this unfolding saga, hoping for a safe and swift resolution.
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