IndiGo selects P&W to power up to 150 A320neos

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In a major coup for Pratt & Whitney's geared turbofan, A320neo launch customer, Indian low cost carrier IndiGo, is to announce it has selected the PW1100G to power up to 150 of the updated Airbus narrowbodies, say those familiar with the deal.

While the official announcement for 300 engines is expected as early as today, the win by the East Hartford-based engine maker comes on the heels of a hard-fought campaign to secure the right to provide 300 engines and associated service contracts to power what Airbus touts as the "largest single firm order" for large jets in commercial aviation history.

IndiGo signed an 11 January memorandum of understanding with Airbus for up to 180 A320 aircraft, including 150 of the re-engined A320neos, making it the European airframer's launch customer for the new variant due for entry into service in 2016.

Missing from the initial MoU was an engine selection, kicking off a fierce behind-the-scenes competition between the CFM International Leap-X and Pratt & Whitney PW1100G as both vied for the massive contract.

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The selection represents the second win for Pratt & Whitney on the re-engined jet, having been chosen by International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) to power at least 60 of its 100 A320neo and A321neo aircraft.

The selection as launch customer also establishes the PW1100G as the lead powerplant to fly first for Airbus's certification campaign.

Airbus says the new engine option for the A320 will reduce fuel burn up to 15%, compared to today's A320, a savings of over 1,510,000 litres (400,000gal) of Jet A and 3.600t CO2 per year.

The PW1524G, the first model of the P&W's PW1000G engine family, is currently in ground testing at two facilities in Manitoba, Canada and West Palm Beach, Florida as it progresses toward its first assignment to power the 110 to 125-seat Bombardier CSeries CS100 aircraft on its 2012 first flight and subsequent 2013 entry into service.

The PW1000G has also been selected to power the 70 to 90-seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet MRJ70 and MRJ90, as well as the 150-seat Irkut MS-21.