Pratt & Whitney to start delivering engines to Qatar Airways in June

Engine maker Pratt & Whitney will start delivering engines ordered by Qatar Airways in June.
Engine maker Pratt & Whitney will start delivering engines ordered by Qatar Airways in June. PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Engine maker Pratt & Whitney said on Wednesday (Feb 17) that it would start delivering engines ordered by Qatar Airways in June, with all required fixes made.

Qatar Airways had been due to take the first delivery of engines in December, for a fleet of 50 new Airbus A-320neo jets.

On Tuesday the airline's chief executive, Mr Akbar Al Baker, said in a media roundtable that his company could cancel the order unless numerous problems with the engines were fixed quickly.

Speaking on Wednesday at the Singapore Airshow, Mr Gregory Gernhardt, president of Pratt & Whitney Commercial Engines, said: "Al Baker has been a long-time customer for Pratt. We've been working with him very closely along with Airbus."

The engine in question is a next-generation geared turbofan design, called PurePower, that offers about 15 per cent fuel savings.

Pratt & Whitney president Bob Leduc had said in an earlier interview that problems included faulty engine software messages and engine startup times.

When asked about the problems cited by Mr Al Baker, Mr Gernhardt said: "The basic architecture of the engine is sound. It's hitting all of its performance requirements. As with any new engine there are minor teething issues."

He said that these teething issues often involved modifying the dimensions of engine components by as little as two times the thickness of a hair.

"Those (modified) parts are already being put into engines. We're confident we have all the fixes in place," he added.

There is additional pressure on Pratt & Whitney to deliver results. An alternative engine option for the A-320neo, the CFM International Leap, promises comparable fuel savings to the PurePower engine.

Pratt & Whitney is dealing with orders totalling nearly 7,000 aircraft engines from over 70 customers worldwide. It opened a new facility in Singapore last month to produce the turbine discs and fan blades for the PurePower engine, one of only two facilities in the world capable of fabricating these highly specialised parts.