A meeting with Pratt & Whitney executives 10 days ago left Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker confident his list of complaints about the engine he ordered to power 50 Airbus A320neos will be partly resolved by mid-year.

But Al Baker is still not withdrawing a threat to cancel the PW1100G order if P&W misses the deadline and order CFM International Leap-1A engines instead.

“They have assured me that most of the issues will be solved by mid-year and by the end of the year all the issues will be solved,” Al Baker says.

Qatar Airways was booked to be the launch operator for the A320neo in December, but the carrier declined to take delivery, citing especially a complaint about a three-minute cool-down cycle required before starting each engine when the industry standard is less than one minute. Lufthansa and IndiGo have since taken delivery of several A320neos despite the acknowledged teething issue with the PW1100G engines.

In early February, P&W publicly outlined plans to have a partial fix installed with a software fix available for engines being delivered by Airbus in April. A hardware change – a strengthened for the third and fourth shaft bearings – would follow several weeks later.

But Al Baker appeared to be dissatisfied with the pace of progress in early March, publicly declaring that he would consider “walking away” from the PW1100G order in favour of the competing Leap-1A.

The Leap-1A is not scheduled to enter service on the A320neo until mid-year, but CFM officials have said he Leap-1A cool-down cycle is already less than one minute for each engine.

In early April, Al Baker met with P&W executives and came away confident that the issues were being resolved. But he clearly wants to keep the engine supplier on its toes until the problems are fixed.

“They are already on notice by me that if they don’t get their act together we will walk away from their engines and we will have to go to the alternative,” Al Baker says.

Source: Cirium Dashboard