Jet-engine builder Pratt & Whitney has made a big score with its GTF turbofan engine series at this week’s 2018 Farnborough Air Show in England. With two separate orders, the jet-engine builder is in line to supply 156 engines to power Airbus jets. At the reported book value for the GTF engine, Pratt & Whitney’s revenue from the new contracts can be estimated at $1.87 billion.
In the larger of two orders, Pratt & Whitney will supply GTF engines to power up to 60 Airbus A220 aircraft (the recently re-labeled Bombardier C Series jets) ordered by a U.S. start-up airline. The name of the new carrier was not released. The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered in 2021.
The second order, from Canadian budget airline Air Transat, involves GTF engines for 17 A321neo aircraft (two A321neo and 15 A321LR jets.) The carrier will lease the aircraft from AerCap. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2019.
The Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine is the result of a 20-year R&D program reportedly costing up to $10 billion. The design features an engine fan separated from the low-pressure compressor and turbine, so that each module operates at optimal speeds. The result is lower engine weight and greater fuel efficiency. Pratt & Whitney claims its GTF engines offer 16% better fuel efficiency and 50% lower NOx emissions than the regulatory standard, and a 75% smaller “noise footprint.”
While the design has been well accepted by aircraft OEMs — the GTF has been adopted by Airbus, Bombardier, Embraer, Irkut, and Mitsubishi for their new narrow-body aircraft programs — Pratt & Whitney’s customers have been beset with delivery problems explained as difficulties with component suppliers.
Airbus has noted that the Pratt & Whitney is resolving a widely reported backlog of engine deliveries.
Another problem emerged earlier this year when the European Air Safety Agency (EASA) issued an emergency airworthiness directive for the engines after it said it had examples of "several occurrences of engine in-flight shutdown" and other in-service incidents on Airbus A320neo aircraft. That issue was resolved when Pratt & Whitney reversed one detail of some component revisions that had been implemented in January of this year.