Pratt & Whitney is working with a group of airlines to determine whether there is a viable re-engining market for the PW6000 turbofan under development to power the 100-passenger Airbus A318.

Potential applications for the 18,000-24,000lb-thrust (80-107kN) engine include early CFM56-powered Boeing 737s, as well as P&W JT8D-powered Boeing 727s and 737s and McDonnell Douglas DC-9s, says P&W president Louis Chenevert.

"A few key airlines are working with us. The business case has to be made that the lower operating costs are worth the investment," he says. "The study is moving along quite well. Within the next several months we will declare the results." Talks are also underway with manufacturers, and a second new-aircraft application for the engine could be in the pipeline, he hints.

At the same time rival General Electric/Snecma joint venture CFM International is targeting operators of early CFM56-powered 737-300/ 400/500s with upgrades intended to bring the original -3 engines up to the latest production standard.

In May, Southwest Airlines launched the CFM56-3 core upgrade programme with a $300 million order for 300 kits. The upgrade reduces specific fuel consumption by 1%, extends on-wing time, reduces repair costs, "and brings reliability up to today's standards", says CFMI executive vice-president Bill Clapper. The company sees a market for around 1,000 kits.

P&W, meanwhile, has completed 40% of the testing required for US certification of the PW6000, set for approval later this year. Flight testing on the A318 is planned for January next year, leading to entry into service in November.

Chenevert says P&W has so far secured 75% of the powerplant market on the A318.

Source: Flight International