We undertook a review of A320neo flight operations. There were 71 A320neo aircraft in operation at the end of February. An analysis of the 28,105 flights scheduled provides some interesting insights. With recent news reports suggesting difficulties with engines, we decided to look through the data to determine how severe any problems are.
The vast majority of fights were completed as scheduled, with 134 cancellations. That amounts to 0.5%, with a 99.5% completion rate. In the databases available to us, there is no explanation for why a flight was cancelled but simply that it was. The cause of a cancellation could be due to weather, or due to a mechanical malfunction.
Of the 134 canceled flights, 100 were on P&W powered aircraft and 34 were on CFM powered aircraft. The P&W powered aircraft had a 0.543% cancellation rate and the CFM powered aircraft had a 0.35% cancellation rate. The Pratt & Whitney GTF powered aircraft had 18,404 departures versus 9,701 for CFM International LEAP powered models.
Recent news reports about A320neo problems comes from India. What does the data show? Among the various airlines, IngiGo’s A320neos are the busiest, holding the top 11 places for most departures. Yet IndiGo has had no flight cancellations in 10,115 departures. Go Air, by contrast, has 57 cancellations among 2,635 departures. Sorting the flight data by airline and engine type, the following statistics arise. The performance at Go Air stands out as odd, especially given the strong performance at IndiGo.
The Indian press reported, in some detail, the engine incidents, which appear to be real issues, including one recent incident with IndiGo which cites specific engine components. The following chart illustrates the rapid rise in flight operations of the A320neo.
The Bottom Line:
The A320neo is off to an excellent start, with good initial reliability on both engines. P&W’s difficulties with production have been well documented, and the company is progressing in its recovery plan. The additional problems revealed earlier this week appear to focus primarily on one airline, which accounts for 57% of the flight cancellations but only 14.3% of departures. With the limited data available to us, we cannot draw a definitive conclusion regarding the reasons for cancellations, but we do expect reliability improvement as both engines continue to mature.