Toulouse - Airbus has identified a new problem in the several PW1100G-JM engines on the A320neo and A321neo, leading the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) to impose operational restrictions on the aircraft concerned urgently.

According to the EASA Airworthiness Directive 2018-0041-E, issued on February 9, 2018, the problem is related to several cases of in-flight engine shutdown (IFSD), and rejected take-off (RTO).

An investigation is underway to determine the root cause, but preliminary results show that the rear hub of the rotor of the high-pressure compressor seems to be in question.

The agency said that if the problem is not corrected, it could lead to a shutdown of both engines in flight. To remedy this potentially dangerous situation, Airbus has instructed its operators to remove the affected engines and suspend ETOPS operations for aircraft equipped with those engines.

To date, 113 A320neo family aircraft are equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines, operated by 18 customers. Pratt & Whitney assured that the problem only concerned a limited number of engines. According to EASA, Airbus has identified 33 potentially faulty engines.

For its part, Airbus has not commented on the impact of this new problem on deliveries of A320neo this year.

Last year, the manufacturer delivered 181 A320neo to its customers, missing its target to deliver 200 aircraft, due to engine delays by Pratt & Whitney.

The A320neo is also offered with CFM International's LEAP-1A engine, which also had some problems last year.

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