Seven development PW6000s have been run, and Pratt & Whitney is due to deliver the first three "production compliant" engines to Airbus in time for flight testing on the A318 to start ahead of the revised schedule, in November or December, says MTU vice-president commercial programmes Anton Binder.

It is understood the acceleration is partly aimed at separating the A318 from the A380 flight-test programme, due to start early next year, although Airbus says it simply wants to get the aircraft into the market earlier.

"We are eager to have the A318 with the Pratt & Whitney engine revived as soon as possible," says Airbus executive vice-president programmes Gerard Blanc.

Entry into service is due in late 2005 following a 400 flight-hour test programme using a single aircraft. Binder says testing so far shows the engine is "very close" to performance targets.

Series assembly of PW6000s in Hanover is due to begin in mid-2005. "We need to get an understanding in the next half-year of what the initial production rate will be," says Binder. America West is the only airline customer left for the PW6000-powered A318, with a deferred order for 15, and is not expected to be the launch operator.


Source: Flight International