Events surrounding United Technologies Corporation’s (UTC) media days on June 6 and 7 saw Executives from not only UTC, but Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace faced with addressing criticisms of Qatar Airways’ CEO, Akbar Al Baker, made behind the scenes at the IATA AGM in Dublin on June 3. The original intention was for the executives to make presentations on the geared turbofan (GTF) ramp-up push but instead found themselves trying to justify the considerable delays in providing the PW1100G engine for the A320neo
Al Baker disclosed to reporters last week that Qatar Airways had invoked a walk away clause owing to continual delays on delivery of the Airbus A320neo. “It is making a huge impact on my bottom line,” Mr. Al Baker said. “We are quite frankly screaming.” At this moment in time the airline should have five A320neos in service; they have none. Al Baker also said that Qatar Airways would consider buying A320neo jets with the alternative engine manufactured through a joint venture between General Electric Co. (GE) and France’s Safran SA (SAF.FR). A further option would be to buy the current versions of the Boeing Co737 and then upgrade to the 737 Max, the direct competitor to the A320neo.
“I’m not going to debate the CEO of Lufthansa or the CEO of Qatar,” Pratt president Bob Leduc said. “I’m just going to state the facts … We’ve got three airlines in service, seven airplanes flying … without any flight shutdowns, no air turn-backs, no rejected takeoffs, at a dispatch reliability of 99.75%.
“Usually you go into service, and immediately you are working on a performance improvement package to try to get back to the spec that you committed … that is not the case here. Nor is it the case [with GTF variant powering the Embraer E190-E2], nor is it the case [with the Bombardier CSeries], nor is it the case [with the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp.] MRJ, nor is it the case [with the Irkut MC-21]. We [delivered] five [GTF engine variants] out of the box that kept their specifications. I think sometimes [customers] want to hold our feet to the fire to make sure that we really do what we say we’re going to do, and I think some of it is a bit of grandstanding. I’m not going to have that debate with my customers.”
UTC president and CEO Gregory Hayes admitted “Obviously we’ve had some [PW1100G] teething problems that everybody has heard of. We have one customer who has been particularly vocal. But the fact of the matter is the engines are doing exactly what we said they would do, they are 16% better in fuel burn, they’re 50% better in particulate emissions, and they’re 75% lower in noise. Since it went into service with Lufthansa back in January we’ve had 99.75% dispatch reliability for the engine. That’s a heckuva achievement for a brand new out-of-the-box engine.”
In the same vein, Pratt SVP-engineering and operations, Danny Di Perna, said “Yes, there’s been some teething problems and it seems like it’s garnered a lot of attention, but this is a long run, this a marathon, we’re going to be building GTFs for 35 to 40 years, so we’re talking about a microscopic period of time relatively speaking, three or four months, honestly. We know it’s impactful, we understand that, but we’re making history here and to make history takes a little bit of time.”
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