Mihin Lanka Loses Engine
By Dinouk Colombage
Engine trouble with Mihin Lanka’s newest A321 has resulted in the engine of another A321 being installed in the aircraft to ensure it continues flying. However, this swap has meant the previous aircraft has been grounded indefinitely.
The cost of the operational lease for the new A321 is US $2,350 per flying hour. Kapila Chandrasena, Mihin Lanka CEO, signed the lease for this aircraft back in December 12 2011. With this addition to its fleet Mihin now has two A321s to go along with its A320. Prior to introducing the new aircraft to their fleet, Captain Themiya Abeywickrama and Captain Pujitha Jayakody were both sent by Mihin on an all-expense paid trip to Paris to inspect it. Abeywickrama, who was first sent there, spent a week test flying the aircraft, while Jayakody spent 20 days in the French capital giving final approval. Upon completion of their inspection, both pilots gave the approval for the company to take it under an operational lease, despite the plane being over nine years old. However, after having made its inaugural flight on September 1, the aircraft experienced engine trouble. The company has now replaced the malfunctioning engine in the newly purchased A321 with that of the other A321.
The previous A321 is grounded on the basis of “being serviced” while the company is looking at flying the malfunctioning engine back to Paris to have it repaired.
If in the event Mihin is forced to lease an engine for the other A321 so that both aircrafts are operational, it will cost US $4 million a year (Rs. 218,840,000). Chandrasena, denied that there was any serious issue with the aircraft engine. “We detected a mechanical issue and so we demounted the engine and are putting it through a boroscope inspection. We will then be able to find out what the problem is with the engine”, he said.
Chandrasena added that the second A321 was undergoing a routine “C-check” which means that it will be grounded for nearly three weeks. “This is a routine maintenance check, because we have unused engines on this plane. We have taken one and installed it on the new A321 to ensure that it continues to fly”, he explained.
He could not comment on how long the other aircraft would be grounded, explaining that an inspection still needs to be carried out on the malfunctioning engine.
The CEO denied that they were looking at leasing an engine to replace the malfunctioning one.