Turkish Airlines, Air New Zealand Weigh GTF-Related Groundings

Turkish Airlines A321neo
Credit: Airbus

Turkish Airlines expects to ground 11-12 Airbus A320neo family aircraft powered by Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan (GTF) engines by the end of 2023, although that number could be revised upwards. 

RTX, the parent company of Pratt & Whitney, set out a fleet management plan Sept. 11 to tackle manufacturing problems with the engines that could see 650 A320neo family aircraft grounded early next year.  

The carrier, which has 58 A320neo family aircraft with GTF engines in its 429-strong fleet, said it had already grounded nine of its aircraft in August because of the engine problems and that there had been a loss in passenger capacity due to the groundings.

Turkish Airlines still expects 15-20% annual growth, as per guidance previously given to investors. 

“Our expectation is to ground 11-12 aircraft by the end of the year, but due to the uncertainties in the process, there is a possibility that this number will be revised upwards by the end of the year,” a Turkish Airlines media relations spokesperson told Aviation Daily.
“Our negotiations with the manufacturer on this issue continue,” the spokesperson said. “Since there are still unclear issues regarding the affected engines and maintenance plans, it seems possible that there will be changes in the quantities mentioned above in the coming period.”  

Separately, Air New Zealand said ongoing Pratt engine issues would put further pressure on its operation.  

“Recent updates provided by Pratt & Whitney, who supply and maintain engines on 16 of our NEO aircraft which operate primarily on the Tasman and Pacific Islands, will put further pressure our operation,” Air New Zealand CEO Greg Foran said in a statement published on the airline’s website Sept. 26 to coincide with its annual shareholders’ meeting. “We expect more details from Pratt & Whitney in the coming weeks and have been developing plans to reduce the potential disruption to customers.”

Helen Massy-Beresford

Based in Paris, Helen Massy-Beresford covers European and Middle Eastern airlines, the European Commission’s air transport policy and the air cargo industry for Aviation Week & Space Technology and Aviation Daily.