MIAMI — Pratt & Whitney confirmed today that the first improved PW110G-JM engines, one of the powerplants for the Airbus A320neo, have been shipped to the airframer.
In a press statement, the company stated that the “very few initial teething items” have been resolved, and that the production engines shipped today to Airbus “already include hardware and software improvements.” Those aircraft in service (seven in total) will be upgraded by September.
During the Airbus Innovation Days held last week in Hamburg, Airbus commented that the teething issues—related to the startup time of the engines and faults in the engine control unit (FADEC)—were expected to be completely solved by this summer. The delays in the delivery of the improved engine have caused lengthy delays in the production of the A320neo, with at least two dozen engineless aircraft, known as gliders, waiting for the engines at Toulouse and Hamburg.
Meanwhile, Qatar Airways announced during the inauguration of its Doha-Atlanta service, the cancellation of the first of five A320neos, claiming a contractual cancellation clause over delays. The carrier threatened to walk away from the remaining initial four aircraft. Speaking at the International Air Transport Association (IATA) annual meeting in Dublin last week, GCEO Akbar Al Baker admitted that the delays are “making a huge impact” on the airline’s bottom line.
The Doha-based carrier, supposed to be the launch operator of the type, swapped deliveries with Lufthansa after declining to take delivery because of the constraints in place for the engine, which require them to run in idle during three minutes before taxi roll.
The technical issue and the documentation thereof caused the company to miss the proposed target of getting the first A320neo delivered in the fourth quarter of 2015. Didier Evrard, Executive Vice President Programs, Airbus, commented during the company’s Innovation Days that the delays may also affect the proposed goal of 650 aircraft delivered in 2016.
“The target remains absolutely achievable, but it will require a high level of effort.” Evrard admitted.
According to Pratt & Whitney, the engine has been delivered to three airlines (Lufthansa, indiGo and GoAir), and it is in revenue service on two continents. To date, the PurePower engine family “has completed more than 58,000 cycles and 35,000 hours of testing to date and is meeting or exceeding all its performance specifications at entry-into-service.” The company said in a statement.