Cargo Lifting Legacy Engine Services, Pratt & Whitney Says

Eagle services
Credit: Pratt & Whitney

SINGAPORE—Component and services demand for Pratt & Whitney’s legacy engines remains steady thanks to the soaring freighter movements in the past year. 

This comes as airlines are continuing deliveries of the Airbus A320neo family with its PWG1100G GTF engines, preferring their use over older aircraft due to the type’s fuel efficiency and lower operating costs.  

Pratt VP of Asia-Pacific sales Mary Ellen Jones told Aviation Daily that air cargo has been a lifeline to some airlines in Asia Pacific, with a number of them flying a fleet of Boeing 747-400F freighters powered by PW4000 turbofans. According to Aviation Week Intelligence Network Fleet and Data Services, the Asia-Pacific region is home to 47 of the world’s 156 in-service 747-400Fs, most belonging to China Airlines and Korean Air. 

Jones also noted that the EFW A320/A321 passenger to freighter program added a “new lease of life” to IAE V2500 engines and components, citing Qantas Freight’s A321P2F as an example, which operates in partnership with Australia Post. 

As carriers in Asia continue A320neo deliveries, Jones says the 11 current and planned MRO shops that support GTF engines will be sufficient to fulfill requirements in the near future, even to far-flung Pacific island customers like Aircalin and Air Kiribati. Singapore will remain as the hub supporting these customers as GTF-powered aircraft traffic to these markets grows. 

Several airlines in Asia-Pacific such as LCCs Vietjet Air and Japan’s Peach have also placed orders for A321LRs to reach further but thinner routes. Jones said the engines on the LRs would have a different maintenance regiment due to the model’s operating patterns as it is flying longer legs than a conventional A320neo. 

“Engines are like car engines, if they run longer missions at cruise, it’s the easiest regime for them. If you’re running the aircraft more like a bus, for one or two hours, that will put more wear and tear on the engine.” Jones said. “We are very attentive to that element and are trying to design the GTF to handle all of these different missions, but there will be differences in maintenance approaches based on how you operate the aircraft.” 

Jones added that during the downturn, Pratt has shown some flexibility in helping airline customers with payments, deferring them in some cases. 

“We have been creative in the ways we support the airlines, such as adjustments to maintenance plans, as to give our operators a little bit of a breather,” Jones said. “We’re just trying to be as adaptable as possible, recognizing the circumstances that our customers are in.”

Chen Chuanren

Chen Chuanren is the Southeast Asia and China Editor for the Aviation Week Network’s (AWN) Air Transport World (ATW) and the Asia-Pacific Defense Correspondent for AWN, joining the team in 2017.