L’American company RTX (formerly Raytheon), parent company of engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitneysaid it would have to retire 600 to 700 of its engines PW1100 Geared Turbofan (GTF) which equip Airbus A320neo to check for the presence of a rare manufacturing defect.
These quality inspections should take place between 2023 and 2026 and could ground an average of 350 planes per year until 2026, and up to 650 planes during the first half of 2024. In the event of necessary maintenance, the work should now last up to 300 days per engineand no longer 60 days, as Greg Hayes, general manager of RTX, had initially indicated.
This latest P&W1100GTF engine problem adds to the others airline problemscurrently struggling with a shortage of staff and new aircraft to cope with the strong travel demand seen around the world.
For example, Air New Zealand, which has 16 single-aisle A320neo aircraft in its fleet, said the issue would further reduce engine availability and impact “significant” on its flight schedule from January 2024. Scoot, a subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, said the inspections would affect four of the engines that power its A320neo fleet and could force it to adjust some of its flights. Hungarian low-cost Wizz Air has estimated that it could suffer a capacity drop of 10% during the second half of the 2024 financial year.
Also, Lufthansa Group estimated that quality problems with Pratt & Whitney engines would result in the grounding of 20 of its A320neo aircraft. For his part, Guillaume Faury, Managing Director of Airbus, affirmed that the European aircraft manufacturer continues to believe in the PW1100 Geared Turbofan engines, stressing that the RTX maintenance plan was the right thing to do to guarantee flight safety.