IndiGo sees more groundings in Q4 due to Pratt & Whitney engines issues

FILE PHOTO: An IndiGo airlines passenger aircraft taxis on the tarmac at Chhatrapati Shivaji International airport in Mumbai

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Indigo stood by its capacity growth forecasts for the year on Tuesday even as it expects to ground more than 30 planes in the fourth quarter due to issues related to its Pratt & Whitney engines.

The country's biggest airline is on an aggressive expansion spree to cater to a boom in air travel and has been growing its capacity by 25% in the last few quarters.

That has helped it mitigate capacity constraints arising from the grounding of planes including about 40 aircraft for older issues.

The mitigation measures include leasing new planes and extending agreements, especially to offset disruption from new engine problems.

IndiGo, which operated 334 planes as of Sept. 30, has retained 14 of its older Airbus A320ceo, extended leases on 36 other aircraft and is taking 11 additional aircraft on lease starting November.

It is also leasing 12 more A320ceos from the secondary market starting January, IndiGo's chief financial officer, Gaurav Negi, said on an earnings call on Friday.

Pratt & Whitney parent RTX said in July a rare powder metal defect could lead to the cracking of some engine components in the twin-engined Airbus A320neo and called for accelerated inspections.

The checks are expected to lead to groundings of 600-700 of Airbus jets between 2023 and 2026, with two-thirds of the engine removals planned for 2023 and early 2024.

(Reporting by Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli and Anil D'Silva)