Pratt & Whitney appoints Ashmita Sethi as India managing director

Photo: Ashmita Sethi, a 20-year veteran of defence and aerospace industry in India.

New Delhi: Facing a huge challenge over in-flight shutdowns in its engines fitted on Indian affordable airline IndiGo‘s Airbus A320neo aircraft, American firm Pratt & Whitney today announced the appointment of industry veteran Ashmita Sethi to the leadership role of managing director for the South Asian nation.

In a statement, the United Technologies division said Sethi, as the senior-most leader, will provide strategic direction for the company’s growth and business goals in India.

“India was an early adopter of the Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine, seeing its potential to support growth in the commercial airline sector,” Pratt & Whitney’s Chief Commercial Officer Rick Deurloo said.

“Having Ashmita join our team as the country-head of India will bolster our support for our customers in the India market. Ashmita brings leadership, industry knowledge and experience to this role, and we welcome her to the Pratt & Whitney team.”

Sethi, who was till recently Boeing Co. India communication director, will drive all of Pratt & Whitney’s operations in the country, including customer relations and support, the company’s customer training centre in Hyderabad, communications, and government affairs.

With over 20 years of experience in the defence and aerospace industry prior to her appointment to this role, Sethi joins Pratt & Whitney following a distinguished career in corporate and public affairs, and communications in global companies, including Rolls-Royce in India.

“I am very excited about the future of Pratt & Whitney in India, and this is a thrilling time to join this team,” Sethi said.

“The GTF engine is the most innovative and competitive product in commercial aviation today, as Pratt & Whitney continues to innovate across all of its products and services to better serve its global customers.”

India’s civil aviation regulator had in late October ordered IndiGo to modify its 16 Airbus A320neo aircraft fitted with Pratt & Whitney engines within 15 days to avoid their grounding.

IndiGo’s planes fitted with Pratt & Whitney 1100 series engines that have clocked more than 2,900 hours must have at least one modified engine, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in a statement then.

India, in late November, asked the low cost airline to ground one of its Airbus A320neo plane fitted with unmodified Pratt & Whitney engines for every addition it makes to its fleet. The order from the DGCA came following a series of troubles on the carrier’s aircraft.

The order from the Indian civil aviation regulator would mean one of the world’s fastest-growing airlines’ expansion and plans for new routes and increasing frequencies could be impeded till the Pratt & Whitney engine issues are resolved.

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