On Friday, The Delhi High Court refused to ground the entire fleet of IndiGo's A320neo aircraft on a plea alleging the planes have defective engines. It, however, said the petition seeking various other directions to the authorities, including an order to ensure that all accidents are published on the civil aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation's website within 24 hours of occurrence, shall be heard on March 20.
Advocate Yeshwanth Shenoy said in his plea that IndiGo's A320neo fleet should be grounded until the manufacturers give in writing that the existing defects have been rectified and the DGCA is satisfied.
"Your first prayer seeking a direction to the DGCA to ground the entire fleet of Airbus A320neo cannot be granted," a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said.
The petition also sought a direction to the DGCA to publish on its website within three months all safety audit reports pertaining to airline operators from year 2000 till date.
"What is most distressing is that the DGCA did not deem it necessary to ground the entire fleet of aircraft with defective engines even when there has been a whopping case of 42 failures because of (defects in the) oil chips and 21 cases os distress in combustion chamber," it said.
The plea stated that the DGCA has violated its own Civil Aviation Requirements while certifying these aircraft with a "certificate of airworthiness".
The aviation regulator had on March 12 ordered IndiGo and GoAir to immediately ground 11 A320neo planes powered with a certain series of Pratt & Whitney engines after three incidents of mid-air engine failures in less than a month. Concerns over the safety of such planes increased with another engine failure, forcing an emergency landing of an IndiGo flight at Ahmedabad airport on March 12, and the DGCA cracked the whip saying that there was no concrete proposal in place at this stage to address the issue.
A total of 14 A320neo aircraft fitted with a specific series of engines -- 11 are operated by IndiGo and three by GoAir -- were grounded. Three IndiGo planes were already on the ground following the glitches.