Vietnam Airlines temporarily grounded eight Airbus A321neos for mandatory engine inspections, as stipulated by the engine manufacturer, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV).
The CAAV informed the Ministry of Transport of the impact of a recent Emergency Alert Service Bulletin (EASB) from the U.S.-based Pratt & Whitney, the manufacturer of the PW1100G engines which power Airbus A321neo aircraft.
The EASB, issued on November 3, 2023, was applied starting January 1, 2024 to promptly detect unusual failures from the engine production process, the CAAV said.
According to the engine manufacturer, 44 Airbus A321neos operated by Vietnamese carriers are subject to the engine inspections.
As of January 31, the Federal Aviation Administration of the U.S. and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency had yet to issue any airworthiness directive linked to the recall of the potentially flawed PW1100G engines used in the Airbus A320 and A321neos.
However, to ensure the ultimate aviation safety for PW1100G-powered A321neos, the CAAV analyzed the possible effects of the engine recall announced by the manufacturer.
The national aviation authority of Vietnam on January 30 asked local carriers to strictly comply with the requirements from Pratt & Whitney, while regularly working with the engine manufacturer and the local airlines to discuss safety measures.
Subsequently, national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines withdrew the eight A321neos from flying and sent their engines to the manufacturer for maintenance.
The local carriers impacted by the engine recall have also taken measures to ensure they maintain adequate fleet sizes for regular operations, the CAAV said.
The Airports Corporation of Vietnam, which operates 22 airports in the country, arranged parking slots at two major Vietnamese airports, Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City and Noi Bai in Hanoi, to house the grounded aircraft.
In related news, the CAAV recently provided local carriers with support in increasing their fleet size to satisfy the soaring travel demand during the Lunar New Year holiday, or Tet, and upcoming public holidays this year.
By January 31, local airlines had wet-leased 15 aircraft to serve the Tet peak travel season.
A 'wet lease' is a short-term leasing arrangement whereby one carrier provides an aircraft, a complete crew, maintenance, and insurance for another.