DALLAS – RTX, the parent company of Pratt & Whitney (P&W), has revealed that 1,200 of its PW1100G engines that power the Airbus A320neo family will require inspections for microscopic cracks “within the next nine to twelve months.” Previously, the checks had been planned during scheduled engine maintenance.
For several months, the engine maker has struggled with issues on its Geared Turbofan (GTF) power plants. Indian Ultra-low-cost carrier Go First (G8) even blamed the problems and subsequent grounding of almost half of its A320neo fleet for its cessation of operations. P&W has also been hit with supply chain issues, meaning demand for maintenance and production has proved difficult to maintain.
Other GTF-affected engines include the PW1500G and PW1900G, which are fitted to the Airbus A220 and Embraer E2 airliners, respectively.
Now 200 engines must be checked by mid-September due to issues that could affect 1,200 of the 3,000 PW100Gs built. The rest will require investigation over the next year, which will see the engines removed from the wing and taken apart for inspection, effectively grounding the airframes they are fitted to.
In its Q2 2023 results, RTX said, “Pratt & Whitney has determined that a rare condition in powder metal used to manufacture certain engine parts will require accelerated fleet inspection.” The powdered metal, produced internally in New York, is used to create high-pressure turbine disks made in Columbus, Georgia.
“Obviously, this is a disappointing development and will impact our customers,” said RTX chief operating officer Chris Calio.
Calio added that the disruption will cut its 2023 profitability by around US$500m. “It’s going to be expensive. We are going to make the airlines whole as a result of the disruption we are going to cause them.”
“The business is working to minimize operational impacts and support its customers. Management will provide additional detail on this matter during the earnings call.” P&W plans to do this by setting aside more newly produced engines for existing customers and adding capacity to its 13 maintenance facilities to support the inspections.
P&W added that it is in touch with the US Federal Aviation Administration and expects it to issue the appropriate airworthiness directives in due course.
Featured Image: Lufthansa D-AINY Airbus A320Neo. Photo: Robert Dumitrescu/Airways.