Airline selects engine to power 15 A318s providing P&W with much-needed boost
Chile-based LAN Airlines has become the launch customer for the Pratt & Whitney PW6000-powered Airbus A318. It will take delivery of the first of 15 firm-ordered aircraft in 2007 as part of a wider package that includes up to 40 International Aero Engines (IAE) V2500-powered A320s.
The long-awaited deal was greeted with relief by P&W, which has struggled for a footing in the market since deciding in 2002 to replace the PW6000’s original five-stage high-pressure (HP) compressor with a new six-stage MTU developed unit. Although that led to what amounted to a four-year delay to service entry, P&W says: “We think we did the right thing by stopping the programme and restarting it.” Although P&W acknowledges it was “unfortunate the way we could not pull it off the way we wanted to”, it adds: “Most of the sales we lost on the A318 became V2500-powered A319s.”
The PW6000-powered A318, which is close to completing flight tests after around 400h and almost 190 flights, is expected to gain European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) JAR 25 certification on schedule in October.
“Nobody is popping champagne corks yet because we’re too busy looking for more customers,” adds P&W, which plans to ship the first PW6000 modules to MTU for final assembly around year-end. P&W is responsible for the fan, low-pressure (LP) compressor and HP turbine, while MTU is providing the HP compressor and LP turbine as well as completing the engine.
MTU will assemble PW6000s at its engine maintenance facility at Hanover. The first three compliant module sets were delivered to P&W for tests in the second half of last year, the first complete test engine following in May. Assuming there are further orders, MTU plans a production rate of 10-12 engines a month – the first complete civil engines assembled by the German manufacturer. First PW6000 deliveries to Airbus for the A318 are set for October 2006, to support deliveries to LAN in 2007-8.
GUY NORRIS/LOS ANGELES & JULIAN MOXON/LONDON
Source: Flight International