Key Points:

  • Pratt & Whitney's recall of PW1100G engines owing to disk issues threatens to impact over half of Volaris's fleet, compelling the airline to realign its operations and schedules.

  • Around 73 aircraft from Volaris' fleet, consisting of 51 Airbus A320neos and 22 A321neos, are potentially affected by the engine recall, with 16 of the Airbus planes already grounded.

  • P&W's engine defects, linked to a flawed manufacturing process, might take 250-300 days per engine to inspect and replace, causing significant disturbances in the global aerospace industry.

Volaris Faces Challenges from Pratt & Whitney’s Engine Recall

MEXICO CITY — Amid the ongoing engine-disk problem linked to Pratt & Whitney’s PW1100G engines, Volaris finds a considerable portion of its fleet at risk. Executives at Volaris, striving to maintain stability in their operations, stress the importance of a clear communication line with P&W regarding the severity of the issue and the projected timelines for engine inspections and restorations.

An Adaptable Approach to Ensure Operational Stability

Enrique Beltranena, Volaris chief executive, highlighted the carrier's proactive measures in dealing with that global engine inspection concern that has affected numerous airlines. The airline's mitigation strategy comprises lease extensions of aircraft and rearranging planes to guarantee reliability for both the airline and its patrons. Beltranena emphasized the airline’s commitment to providing a consistent schedule, despite the frequent changes to the fleet.

Economic Impact and Global Disruptions

With the grounding of its Airbus aircraft due to engine problems, Volaris has reported substantial financial setbacks. The company experienced an 8% reduction in capacity in September alone, translating to a $18 million loss, as detailed by Jaime Pous, the chief financial officer. Moreover, Volaris has adjusted its annual operating revenue forecast downward to $3.2 billion, considering the prospective consequences of the engine problem.

CEO Beltranena also mentioned the FAA-mandated inspections, which will encompass approximately 3,000 engines globally between 2023 and 2026. P&W has shed light on the engine defect, attributing it to a manufacturing anomaly with powdered metal, with a lengthy inspection and replacement process.

This engine recall poses significant challenges for the worldwide aerospace sector, as a large number of Airbus A320neo-family aircraft could remain grounded in the foreseeable future.

The Financial Repercussions for Pratt & Whitney

P&W anticipates a financial blow of around $3-3.5 billion due to the predicament. The bulk of this amount, 80%, will be allocated for customer assistance and compensation, with the remaining 20% reserved for labor and material expenses.

As Volaris navigates through these operational hurdles, an agreement concerning compensation with P&W is expected to materialize in the upcoming month, as hinted by Beltranena.