Pratt & Whitney Engine Repair

Engine Failure Prompts FAA Warning, Directive Including Hawaiian + Delta Air Fleets

We wish this was an April Fool’s joke, but it isn’t. Rather, it has been a month since we last updated on Hawaii-flight-related FAA airworthiness directives. The long-troubled engines on these fleets used for Hawaii flights by Hawaiian and Delta have had another airworthiness directive issued. This one takes effect on April 11, 2024; we’ve attached it below for your review.

Did Hawaiian Airlines Get Leapfrogged By This Announcement?

This directive was prompted by a recent engine failure during take-off.

That event occurred in December and was the impetus for the new April 11 directive. This is the latest in a series of multi-year FAA directives related to the Pratt & Whitney PW1100 engines that power the narrow-body Hawaii fleets at Delta and Hawaiian Airlines, but not American Airlines. American’s A321 fleet uses CFM International LEAP engines, which have had their own issues.

“The analysis concluded that there is an increased risk of failure for additional powdered metal parts…and that all affected parts are susceptible to failure significantly earlier than previously determined.”

Federal Aviation Administration

FAA warned of calamitous potential if not addressed.

The recent engine failure happened on a Viva Aerobus plane with the affected engines, which resulted in an engine shutdown and an aborted take-off. That incident took place at Guadalajara.

“The unsafe condition, if not addressed, could result in uncontained hub failure, release of high-energy debris, damage to the engine, damage to the airplane, and loss of the airplane.”

Federal Aviation Administration

The major issues related to the engines remain unchanged, but the FAA has seen fit to update and create a new urgency in certain work related to these planes. Delta and Hawaiian were among the airlines who commented on the upcoming directive.

Engine problems on these Airbus A321neo planes require a year out of service.

Problems with these engines continue to plague both airlines, especially Hawaiian Airlines. Among those flying to Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines is the most impacted by Pratt & Whitney engine issues on this fleet of barely five-year-old planes. It’s worth noting that behemoth Delta has its own in-house Tech Ops group, which has been dealing with the engines having issues.

Beyond the scope of Hawaii flights, it’s JetBlue that the A321 engine problems have hit the hardest. In an important and revealing statement, they said last month that they expect to have 11-15 of these planes out at any one time this year. JetBlue confirms that engine inspection and repair takes 360 to 365 days per plane!

Hawaiian Airilnes A321 engine problems

A321neo faces “reliability challenges” beyond the engines.

While Hawaiian remains noticeably tight-lipped regarding its fleet problems, JetBlue has been more forthcoming. So, while the powdered metal problems are the most troubling, they said that reliability challenges extend beyond the engines. JetBlue also said these problems will continue for the next year or more and that they “don’t necessarily believe that the situation will improve.”

We still expect that more changes in Hawaiian’s schedule may be required to accommodate these problems. It is possible, at least based on JetBlue’s statement last month, that Hawaiian, too, could see up to 50% of its A321 West Coast mainstay fleet out of service. That would mean up to 9 aircraft. This presents a severe challenge to Hawaiian, which has a small fleet of just over 40 aircraft total that are capable of mainland to Hawaii flights.


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29 thoughts on “Engine Failure Prompts FAA Warning, Directive Including Hawaiian + Delta Air Fleets”

  1. Advice Please
    I am flying to Maui the end of April.
    If anyone has the knowledge of aircraft and what seems to be going on with the lack of safe airplanes, can anyone list in an easy to understand list of what would be the safest?
    I am having difficulty understanding all this.

    I can choose from Delta, United, and American Airlines from where I fly from.

    ie: type of aircraft, which airline etc.

    Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Hi Tom.

      Some say they won’t fly on 737 MAX. Others, including airline pilots who comment here, will tell you what is statistically true, which if that flying is safe period. And as an FYI, two BOH editors flew the MAX 9 to the west coast this week.


  2. This is what you get when you rely on computer models, outsourcing software & engineering, have management more concerned with stock value then quality, this also applies to middle management who are only concerned with climbing the corporate ladder and lack of time & money spent on training staff to do the work.

    1. Why don’t the airlines force an engine exchange? They exchange a bad engine for a good one. The engine maker should have spares waiting. Fix an engine ship it out and repair the next one.

  3. Ah the good old days when DC-10’s and 747’s ruled the skies to the mainland :)…….truth is flying is still incredibly safe and one of the reasons is because of all the scrutiny any problem that arises gets. I’m very comfortable riding on any Aircraft or Airline serving Hawaii.

      1. John, I think that’s the point of the recent airworthiness directive is to increase scrutiny. At this point flying in an aircraft with this type of known potential engine failure could be compared to driving with wore out tires. You know you’re risking a failure you just don’t know when
        With this in mind I think I’ll be more comfortable in a Boeing aircraft than an Airbus powered with the Pratt and Whitney.

    1. Amazed to see John W saying he would be comfortable flying any airline serving Hawaii, sounds like he Loves Southwest. Then I saw the date was April Fools Day.

      1. 🙂 Can’t say I’m a fan but certainly don’t think they are unsafe…my issues with them are their business practices….although perhaps you could get hurt fighting for an aisle seat!

  4. Please advise if you think a parachute would fit in the overhead bin?
    The tricky part would be the inflatable raft.

  5. Aloha ! Thank you for posting this update.
    We’re scheduled on the day of the directive being effective, April 11 to fly OGG to LGB.
    Do you have advice for us in getting operational-schedule updates ?
    Looked at HA website with no info.
    Should we call the call center in Manila ?
    Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Bill and Karyn.

      Sorry to not have any great ideas on this. One thing we can suggest is checking the incoming flight to be sure it is operating. Flightaware is a good place for that. Put in your flight number and then under flight details select track inbound plane. It is unlikely you’d get any meaningful information from their call center.


      1. Jeff and Rob, Thank you !
        Checked with Hawaiian’s websites chat.
        They had no updates from mgt. and said to keep checking website for any ???
        Your idea for flightaware sounds good.
        We’ll try that and occasionally checking website.
        Thank you for your help !

  6. Flying to Oahu in a few weeks on Hawaiian’s 787 aircraft.

    Between all the issues with Boeing and now Airbus I’m going to have to double my Xanax dose before getting on the plane.

    I hope 4mg and a couple beers will be enough to prevent any panic attacks while my plane crashes into the Pacific. 🙁

  7. This makes me think twice about traveling to my beloved Kauai. I was getting ready to plan another trip, but now I’m not sure I want to. Sad.

  8. This is so unfortunate for Hawaiian and Delta with these Pratt & Whitney PW1100 engines. Hopefully, both airlines will recover financial loses from Pratt & Whitney.

    1. Aloha Rob+Jeff. What I am wondering is “Why all of a sudden lately” are all these airplane problems happening? When I think of how many times I have flown the neo321 in the last 5-7 yrs, I am grateful that I made it there and back safely. It does make me more reluctant to fly over there now. Do you two feel any anxiety with all of the flying you both do for your job? Warm regards.

      1. Hi Debra.

        Thanks! Neither of us has much anxiety flying. We both get a little wiggy with last minute cancelations and delays.


        1. Tom, there’s a lot of misinformation being spread about DEI and safety. “Look it up” means you can find misinformation on the internet that supports whatever you want to believe. It’s not reality.

  9. Just curious, but does anyone recall when Hawaiian Air’s first A321s went into have the engine issue fixed? At that time, I thought they were estimating 6 – 9 months to fix the problem. Have any of Hawaiians A 321s come back on the flight line?

    1. Hi Jim.

      We can’t say exactly when the first A321neo went in because Hawaiian didn’t indicate that. At the time, the estimate for repair duration was far lower than was revealed subsequently indicated.


      1. All 18 A321 are back up this month. This was prior to the latest announcement and after rounds of engine service. Not all aircraft/airlines are affected the same since it depends on assembly line dates where the engines were in process. So you can’t assume or report on any air carrier based on another. You just have to await the announcement to see. It is fair to assume there is some impact. But by how much you’ll have to wait and see.

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