New FAA 30-Day Airbus Inspection Mandate Spares Hawaiian Airlines

On Friday, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced more critical problems for some troubled engines on Airbus narrow-body planes. These will now face an immediate inspection following concerning words from the FAA. The Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engines will be subject to mandatory checks to prevent a critical part failure that could damage the Airbus aircraft.

To be clear, the scope of this latest directive does not currently include the A321neo fleets of Hawaiian Airlines, or Delta Air Lines, both of which are used extensively for mainland to Hawaii flights. Last month’s bigger recall, which is in process and will continue over the next year, impacts both Delta and Hawaiian A321 fleets. American’s A321neo fleet uses a different engine and isn’t subject to recall.

The FAA said that yesterday’s directive would require ultrasonic inspections of the engines (1st and 2nd stage high-pressure turbine disks). Should any fatigue be detected, repairs with replacement disks will be performed before further flights.

Last month’s announcement impacted Hawaiian and Delta’s A321neo fleet.

Pratt & Whitney’s parent company, RTX Corp., said last month that a “rare condition” related to powdered metal would require no less than 1,200 of the Airbus A320/A321 engines to be removed from the planes and inspected for micro-cracks.

Hawaiian is in the process of responding to P&W’s recall, as is Delta Air Lines, which does impact their narrow-body mainland fleets. Hawaiian has already made changes its schedule to accommodate inspections that take aircraft out of service for as much as two months each.

Hawaiian has updated its flight schedule with more changes possible.

Hawaiian last told us they did not know how many aircraft in its 18-plane narrow-body fleet would go offline for up to two months to complete the recall work. That duration, estimated by Pratt & Whitney last month, is to remove, inspect, repair, and reinstall the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G jet engines.

Hawaiian also did not respond when asked if the maintenance would be done at their Philippine-based Singapore Airlines repair facility or if the engines would return to the manufacturer.

So far, this latest 30-day directive only affects 20 engines on US aircraft.

It is believed that all U.S. planes involved thus far are flown by Spirit Airlines.

In December 2022, there was an aborted takeoff due to a failure of one of these engine’s compressors. After that, P&W’s analysis determined that the disks were at risk of failing far earlier than had been believed possible.

FAA said of the latest problem: “Material anomalies could lead to premature fracture and uncontained failure.” That dictated an “immediate safety of flight problem response.”

An uncontained engine occurs when fragments of rotating engine parts penetrate and escape through the engine case. Uncontained engine failures present a direct danger to the aircraft, crew, and passengers as there is the potential for fragments to penetrate the cabin, or fuel tanks, damage fuel or hydraulic lines, or damage critical flight control surfaces of the plane.

We sincerely hope that this is the end of the problems with the P&W GTF Airbus engines.

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4 thoughts on “New FAA 30-Day Airbus Inspection Mandate Spares Hawaiian Airlines”

  1. Hello,

    Can you please confirm if Airbus 321 is in recall? as I’m unclear from
    * A321 neo fleets of Hawaiian airlines

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Arce.

      Yes the A321neo fleets of both Delta Air Lines and Hawaiian Airlines have engines that are subject to the recall. Not all planes, not all engines. They are working through these now. Anything specific you are asking?


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