Four hundred and thirty US-registered A320neo powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engines are likely to be impacted by new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) maintenance requirements, according to a December 11, 2023, draft rule issued by the agency. It follows the engine manufacturer issuing a recall of specific engines earlier this year. Once final, the FAA's rule will codify the inspection process and what it entails.

The recall concerns PW1100G engines manufactured over a five-year time frame and used by A320neo operators. As a result, an estimated 1,200 engines will be removed from airframes for inspection and parts replacement. Pratt & Whitney has recently released two service bulletins on the matter, which the FAA has relied on to inform their draft rule. In a statement released by the engine manufacturer after the draft rule was made public, Pratt & Whitney said there was "no expansion in scope" of inspection requirements.

The recall concerns engines manufactured between 2015 and 2020. Inspections found "a rare condition in powder metal used to manufacture certain engine parts," namely the high-pressure turbine discs. The inspections are looking for microcracks, which could indicate engine fatigue. The PW1100G engine is one of two engine types available to operators of A320neo family aircraft.

The two service bulletins issued in November specify the next round of engines requiring inspection of high-pressure turbine stage one and two discs and shortens the service life of high-pressure compressor stage seven and eight integrated blade rotors. The FAA's draft rule also notes that the engine's front air seals, rear air seals, and blade retaining plates will face "accelerated replacement."

Pratt & Whitney is managing the inspection process based on MRO availability and engine life. It has slotted 430 US-registered aircraft in for the next round of checks. Of those aircraft, 366 will need new high-pressure turbine stage one and two disc hubs, and 351 will need high-pressure turbine second stage hubs.

However, the impact of the engine recall goes far beyond the US, with ch-aviation recently reporting on multiple airlines making contingency plans and securing compensation due to their aircraft needing to go out of service for engine inspections. Among the impacted carriers are Cebu Pacific Air, Air New Zealand, Volaris, and SKY Airline (Chile). Since August, some 140 engines have been inspected, with around 15% of those coming off US-registered airframes.

The FAA is accepting submissions on the draft rule through January 11, 2024, which will go into effect 35 days after a final decision is made and publicised.