In what could be a major blow to Hawaii flights, some engines on these A321neo fleets need inspection, according to the manufacturer. The issues may be defective or worn components, including high-pressure turbine disks that could be linked to a 2020 uncontained engine failure.
Today the engine manufacturer’s parent company said that up to 1,200 of these engines will need to go back to Pratt and Whitney over the next 12 months. These inspections require that engines be removed from the wings and disassembled. We’ve written multiple articles about this situation previously, which you can read in the related content suggestions below.
The engines that power the Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines narrow-body fleets remain seriously troubled, which has been an ongoing issue. But today’s disclosure of such a weighty number of these fleets, which will require downtime to have engines removed from the aircraft for the required inspection, shocked the industry.
The impact on Hawaiian Airlines’ operations is far greater than it is on a much larger and more aircraft diversified Delta Air Lines. What that means in terms of upcoming flight schedules for already aircraft-constrained Hawaiian, isn’t yet clear to the airline.Beat of Hawaii
Recall of up to 1,200 engines used on two Hawaii fleets.
The company said: “Pratt & Whitney has determined that a rare condition in powder metal used to manufacture certain engine parts will require accelerated fleet inspection.” As a result, more than a thousand engines will need to come off. That sent the stock in the company (previously Raytheon) down 14%.
Airlines like Delta and Hawaiian must quickly assess how the off-the-wing engine problems will impact their Hawaii flights that rely on these planes.
Pratt & Whitney said that it will require “a significant portion” of the engines to be removed for inspection more rapidly than was ever anticipated. Those will now need to occur in phases, with some “200 accelerated removals by mid-September of this year” and others “within the next nine to twelve months.”
Plans for these important Hawaii fleets are to be discussed today.
Pratt & Whitney’s parent, RTX, said they are “Working to minimize operational impacts and support its customers. Much of this is coming to light as two critical earnings calls occur today. RTX had their investor call already today.
The Hawaiian Airlines earnings call will happen later this morning, in which Beat of Hawaii will participate.
It isn’t yet clear what percentage of each fleet will be offline or at any one time. But it’s currently thought that perhaps 1/3 of all planes with these specific engines could be impacted.
The other A321neo fleet that flies to Hawaii is American Airlines. That is not impacted as they use an engine from a different manufacturer.
This is an ongoing problem, which Hawaiian and Delta had hoped was behind them.
But according to the manufacturer of the engines, that is not the case. To date, the airlines have suffered reliability issues that have taken (to our knowledge) up to 5 of Hawaiian’s 18-jet fleet out of service at one time. Another issue has been the slow turnaround times at the engine repair shops. This is a result of dreaded supply chain problems across the aviation industry.
How important are these planes to Hawaii travel?
These important planes are seen flying to and from Hawaii day in and day out and are a workhorse of Hawaii travel, perhaps more so than any aircraft other than the Boeing 737. Beat of Hawaii editors flew on both Hawaiian A321neo last week and Delta A321neo planes recently.