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In a jet engine recall that could affect many travelers into 2024, Pratt & Whitney is recalling thousands of its jet airplane engines. The move is causing two big issues. First, airlines are now scraping the bottom of the barrel for replacement parts for ailing engines. And of course, it affects airline travel, as more planes with these jet engines aren’t in use pending repairs and replacement. Flights are already seeing cancellations due to airplane shortages. 

Those airlines with the most difficulties are Spirit, JetBlue, Hawaiian Airlines, and Wizz Air. Simpleflying says almost 60 airlines have Airbus A320neo airplanes. Hungarian airline Wizz Air has extensive flights throughout Europe. The airline has already had to discontinue routes. Others are in jeopardy as it says technical staff can’t keep up with the responsibilities of the engine recall. Hawaiian Airlines has cut five of its routes so far. 

How badly is the engine recall affecting airlines?

Airbus A320neo airplane flying out of airport
Airbus A320neo airplane | ERIC CABANIS/AFP via Getty

According to Reuters, Spirit has already cut 5% of its plane capacity into 2024. It has the largest U.S. fleet of 320 Airbus jets at 79. Indian airline Go First has had to ground over one-third of its fleet. But overall, A320 Airbus fleets are down 11% while inspections continue. 

The engines in question are Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan (GTF) units in A320neo Airbus jets. Metal contaminants have been found in high-pressure disk castings. This, in turn, can cause cracks to form. Production of the GTF engines began in 2016. 

How fast will these engine recall inspections take?

Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine 3/4 view
Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine | PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP via Getty

The engine maker is recalling 1,200 engines. The expectation is that only 200 of the 1,200 engines will complete inspections by September. The recall first came in July, so with inspections so slow, this will definitely be affecting flights in 2024. 

So besides summer travel, the effects of the recall could be a mess for holiday travel as well. Of course, this comes on the heels of last year’s disastrous cancel/delay holiday season. Southwest alone had thousands of cancellations. But rather than for an engine recall, the mess was over old software that couldn’t handle loads involving weather delays and rescheduling. Many cancellations were made close to takeoff times. As one can imagine, this didn’t bode well with flyers. 

Airbus A320neo airplane in hangar
Airbus A320neo airplane | ERIC CABANIS/AFP via Getty

Besides all of the flight disruptions, the airlines themselves are seeing financial effects. Shares of several airlines have gone down 10% already. And earnings estimates through the end of the year are now seeing a reassessment of projection numbers put together last year. Overall, airline profits could lose millions of dollars from the effects of the recall. 


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