12° Nicosia,
20 May, 2024

Wizz Air faces reduced Christmas flight schedule due to engine faults

Airline's capacity cut by 10% as Pratt & Whitney engine issues ground planes

Source: The Telegraph

Wizz Air has been forced to ground some of its planes and warned it would run fewer flights over Christmas after faults were uncovered in engines used by Airbus.

The budget airline said its capacity for the second half of the year would be 10pc lower after issues were uncovered with engines in its Airbus SE A320neo aircraft.

Aerospace supplier RTX informed Wizz Air that it had detected issues with a certain engine manufactured by US aviation giant Pratt & Whitney. The faulty engines are used in some A320neo.

While other British airlines including easyJet use that aircraft, other British and European carriers are understood to rely on engines manufactured by different suppliers.

The issue with the Pratt & Whitney engines involves a “rare condition in powder metal used to manufacture certain engine parts”, which could cause them to crack, RTX said.

A number of Wizz Air engines will need to be checked for the remainder of the year and into 2024. The airline said it was “assessing the implications to understand the extent of the impact on its fleet”.

The engine is used in hundreds of Airbus SE A320neo aircraft and will see hundreds of planes ground across the globe. RTX estimates that around 600 to 700 engines will have to be removed.

Wizz Air said it would “continue to work with Pratt & Whitney to minimise the impact to its fleet plan and costs to the business”.

A spokesman said: “The Company continues to take proactive action to mitigate any financial and operational impact and will be seeking financial compensation from Pratt & Whitney.”

The engine issues will cause another headache for Wizz Air after it was revealed last month that thousands of its passengers could be in line for compensation. The Hungary-based airline wrongly rejected claims over cancelled flights for several years.

The first-of-its-kind action by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s airline regulator, meant that passengers could claim compensation for flights cancelled as far back as six years. An estimated 15,000 travellers could be in line for compensation.

Commenting on the engine inspections, John Strickland, independent air transport consultant at JLS Consulting, said that this was a “significant issue” for Wizz Air.

He said: “When you’ve got to take capacity out for any reason you want to look to see how you do it with the least commercial impact, and then, spread the pain around so that you’re not inflicting significant damage in one area or for one lot of passengers. That is a painstaking process.”

He added: “They can maybe counter some of the impact because of the seasonality of air traffic, which generates lower volumes of passengers in some markets in the winter, and may help to ease the impact but nevertheless is quite a significant amount of capacity to come out when they had expected to grow by up to 30pc in the second half.”

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