RPT-Pratt counters critics of new engine, gets suppliers ready
(Repeats June 7 story for wider distribution.)
By Alwyn Scott
MIDDLETOWN, Conn., June 7 (Reuters) - The head of aircraft engine maker Pratt & Whitney countered criticism on Tuesday from Qatar Airways and Lufthansa about Pratt's new Geared Turbofan engine, saying early teething issues that have delayed delivery of some Airbus planes have been fixed.
"I'm not going to debate the CEO of Lufthansa or the CEO of Qatar. I'm just going to state the facts to you as I know them," Bob Leduc, president of Pratt & Whitney, said at a media event in Connecticut.
The chief executive of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, said last week he had canceled one Pratt-powered A320neo, part of a large Airbus order, over concern that the engine required extra time to start under certain conditions.
Some A320s are at Airbus' factory in Toulouse, France, awaiting engines, and Lufthansa is not flying the plane into some airports because of the slow start issue.
Pratt, a unit of United Technologies Corp, is one of the world's biggest aircraft engine makers, along with General Electric Co and Britain's Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc .
Leduc ticked off Pratt's numbers: three airlines flying seven A320s with the engine, known as the PW1100G, which is demonstrating a 16 percent cut in fuel burn and 75 percent noise reduction compared with prior engines. In more than 2,000 takeoffs and landings so far, it has shown no major in-flight or takeoff issues, Leduc said, and it has dispatch reliability of 99.75 percent, meaning it was able to leave the gate on time.
"This has been a phenomenal entry into service" second only to the Boeing 777 in 1995, he said. Continued...