By Allison Lampert
(Reuters) -Pratt & Whitney’s improved version of the geared turbofan engine used by Airbus SE’s strong-selling A320neo jet family will help build backlog and preserve delivery share, the engine maker said on Thursday.
Raytheon Technologies’ Pratt said it will also meet the demands of its largest commercial customer Airbus, which has asked suppliers to explore rates as high as 75 a month by 2025 based on expected strong demand for sought-after single-aisle jets as the pandemic eases.
The GTF Advantage update comes with 4% higher thrust, 1% improved fuel burn, and can last longer between scheduled maintenance appointments. Pratt says the updated GTF will be the most powerful engine for the A320neo family when it enters service in January 2024.
“This is not a paper engine,” Tom Pelland, Pratt’s senior vice president of GTF engines told reporters at the company’s media day in Hartford, Connecticut. “This is an engine we’re testing today.”
The development, reported by Reuters on Wednesday, comes as airlines are under pressure to slash emissions with engine makers eying longer-term advances like hybrid-electric propulsion to improve fuel efficiency.
Pratt faces rival CFM International, co-owned by France’s Safran SA, and U.S.-based General Electric, which leads in market share on the A320 program.
“We expect to continue to grow our backlog and keep our delivery share in about the same or better place,“ said Rick Deurloo, Pratt’s chief commercial officer.
Earlier in the day, French jet engine maker Safran said the worst of the coronavirus crisis was over but took a cautious view on long-term airline traffic in a continuing stand-off with Airbus over proposed increases in jetliner production.
CEO Olivier Andries said Safran remained committed to building enough engines to allow Airbus to meet a firm output target of 65 A320s a month in 2023, up some 50% from crisis-hit levels, but that it was too early to commit to more.
Asked about Airbus’ plans for 2023, Pratt & Whitney president Christopher Calio told reporters, “We’re going to meet the demands of our customer.”
(Reporting by Allison Lampert in Hartford, CT, and Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Mark Porter)