November 15, 2017

Pratt lands $1.5B deal for geared turbofans

East Hartford aerospace engine maker Pratt & Whitney said it has signed a contract with Vietnam Airlines for geared turbofan engines to power 20 Airbus A321 twin-engine aircraft.

The deal, which includes 40 engines, spares, and a 12-year maintenance agreement, is worth $1.5 billion to Pratt, minus any discounts, Rick Deurloo, senior vice president of sales, marketing, and customer support, said in a news release.

Vietnam Airlines is a repeat customer for Pratt, Deurloo said at a contract signing Saturday in Hanoi.

"We've been powering Vietnam Airlines since the early 1990s," when the airline received its first PW4000-powered Boeing 767, he said.

The contract also helps Pratt move forward from the engine's problems since its entry into service in 2016.

During the past year the engine's had problems such as faulty combustion chambers and overly slow cooling times in hot climates. Europe's Airbus, which makes the A320 line of aircraft, has blamed Pratt's slow fix of the problems for delaying deliveries.

India's IndiGo airline grounded some planes with the engines while Pratt worked on the problems.

Bloomberg News in August also reported that jet engines built by CFM International Inc., General Electric's partnership with France's Safran SA, are outselling Pratt's new geared engine on the Airbus A320neo line by a 10-1 margin.

Pratt officials, however, have said the company is making progress in correcting the issues and say the engine's basic geared technology is delivering as promised.

Since entering into service in early 2016, the GTF engine has shown that it reduces fuel consumption by 16 percent, cuts air pollution by 50 percent, and reduces noise by 75 percent, according to company officials.

Pratt is based in East Hartford and has a plant in Middletown as well. It is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp., based in Farmington.

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