Home' Asian Aviation : AAV October 2017 Contents 30 AsianAviation | October 2017
THE SUMMER TRAVEL SEASON HAS NOT BEEN KIND to trav-
ellers on IndiGo, India's largest airline, and Go Airlines India. Prob-
lems with their new A320neos powered by Pratt & Whitney's latest
Geared Turbofan engine have forced both airlines to ground much of
their A320neo fleet as P&W races to supply spare engines that meet
regulatory requirements. The two airlines have about 30 A320neos
combined and about a third of them have been kept on the ground
while P&W works to sort out the problems.
Bringing in new technology into any industry is never a chal-
lenge-free undertaking and Pratt & Whitney is not the only engine
maker facing hiccups with its powerplants. Flag carrier Air India said
in early September it was deferring delivery of at least one A320neo
due to problems with its CFM engines, which competes with Pratt's
GTF. Reports from India were unclear as to the specific nature of the
CFM problems and CFM, a joint venture between France's Safran
and US-based GE Aviation, declined to comment.
For Pratt & Whitney though, problems with their GTF engines
have already cost them an undetermined amount in compensation
paid to the two Indian carriers in addition to the costs of repair and
supply of spare engines. The company was said to have told the
Indian government in August that problems with the engines will be
fixed by at least the end of the year, according to an o icial at the
country's aviation regulator, who said Pratt & Whitney had "assured"
the government that the company will work to ensure no aircraft
are grounded due to engine problems. Indian regulators have also
ordered the engines in question to be inspected after as few as 350
hours in service compared to the 1,000 hours originally planned for.
The A320neos in question currently make up only a small part of
the fleets of IndiGo and GoAir, but are expected to grow with IndiGo
having over 400 of the jets on order and GoAir set to add over 100.
Pratt & Whitney, for its part, told Asian Aviation that "as with any
new technology, we have had entry-into-service issues and we are
focused and committed to minimising disruption to our customers'
operations. We have action plans in place to resolve the situation. That
said, we do also know that what excites our customers about the GTF
is the engine's performance --- it is already producing the promised 16
percent fuel burn improvement, 50 percent less emissions and a 75
percent smaller noise footprint." The manufacturer has made improve-
ments for engine durability and has increased spare engine deliveries
as well as overhauled engine returns with the improved design, which
should help to stabilise the current fleet, the spokesman said.
Pratt & Whitney said it saw "some early distress on our PW1100G-
JM engine combustor panels, primarily in the challenging environ-
ment of India. Modifications were implemented mid last year and
incremental improvements are on track to be introduced by the end
of this year "
. The company also said the #3 carbon seals, which were
reported to have problems, have seen an improved time on wing "but
we are experiencing some removals as anticipated due to pre-exist-
ing wear prior to the retrofit. New production engines with a more
comprehensive improvement package have reported zero issues"
"Since its entry into service," Pratt & Whitney told Asian Aviation,
"the GTF engine has been in operation for more than one year. It has
more than 200,000 hours of passenger service and is utilised by 13
operators flying 250 flights per day to over 100 destinations on four
continents. To date, we estimate our customers have saved more
than 12 million gallons of fuel since entry into service. We remain
on track to produce 350-400 GTF family engines this year, and we
are also ramping up our engine overhaul capacity and increasing
spare engines to support the fleet. Pratt & Whitney spent 20 years
and more than US$10 billion developing this revolutionary engine,
and we are confident in and committed to the long-term success of
the Geared Turbofan family."
Pratt powers ahead on GTF
With the thousands of parts and millions of dollars involved in designing new engines, it's no
surprise there are delays and hiccups along the way to certification and line service. AAV editor
Matt Driskill takes a look at Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan (GTF) and problems in India.
PRATT & WHITNEY
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