IAE partners still grappling with engine offering for new narrowbodies

Washington DC
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Pratt & Whitney stands ready to break away from its current partners in the International Aero Engines (IAE) consortium and offer its geared turbofan engine to airframers examining possible re-engined and new design aircraft if it fails to reach consensus with its three IAE collaborators on a new product offering.

IAE partners - P&W, Rolls-Royce, MTU and Japanese Aero Engine Corporation - formed the consortium in 1983 to develop the V2500 engine powering the Airbus A319/A320/A321 narrowbodies and the Boeing MD-90.

During an 11 March analyst and investor update by Pratt & Whitney's parent company United Technologies, P&W President David Hess said both Airbus and P&W have both stated their preference for an offering to Airbus through IAE.

"Now, we haven't been able to come to an agreement yet with the partners of IAE," says Hess. "It is not just Rolls-Royce."

Rolls-Royce has never embraced the geared turbofan concept, and last year MTU CEO Egon Behle admitted that R-R and P&W have different approaches to engine development for next generation narrowbodies.

Hess, meanwhile, says discussions are continuing with MTU and Japanese Aero. "We continue to look for every creative solution possible to continue to go forward with IAE, but right now we're not waiting. We're offering our engine to Airbus and Boeing as Pratt & Whitney."

Hess says P&W does reserve the right in its proposals to the airframers that if it is selected "to bring it back to the partners of IAE, and it is still our preference to try to do it as IAE".

P&W is waiting for an outcome from the discussions with its IAE partners, but Hess declares the company is "not afraid of going it alone".

Offering additional perspective another United Technologies executive states a "lion's share of the current [IAE] partners stand behind GTF. We are talking about one company that is uncertain given their past view of the market".

Bombardier, Mitsubishi and Irkut have selected P&W's PurePower PW1000G to power the new CSeries aircraft, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet and the MS-21.