Pratt & Whitney & Air Astana Settle Over PW1100G Engines

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  • Air Astana settles with Pratt&Whitney for faulty engines, needing to remove over 30 throughout this year.
  • The settlement aims to address costs and maintain operations of Airbus A320neo aircraft.
  • Complex issues with PW1100G engines have led to the grounding of A320 fleets worldwide.

The Astana-based flag carrier has settled with engine manufacturer Pratt&Whitney. According to ch-aviation, this regards the engines powering the airline’s backbone, the Airbus A320neo family of aircraft. The airline is said to need to remove 34 of the PW1100G engines throughout 2024.

Air Astana A321LR

Photo: Air Astana

In a Kazakhstan Stock Exchange filing on March 27th, the airline is reported to have said the settlement “will help address costs and will supplement the existing range of robust operational initiatives to address these issues in a sustainable manner.” The exact figure has yet to be made public. Its fleet has 14 thirteen A320neos, four A321neos, and 12 A321LRs. Overall, they represent the majority of the carrier’s aircraft. The maintenance downtime could severely impact the airline’s operations.

Simple Flying reached out to Pratt&Whitney for comment but was unable to receive an immediate response.

Some background behind the PW1100G program

Spirit Airlines Airbus A321neo.
Photo: Spirit Airlines

The affected engines manufactured by Pratt & Whitney are called GTF (Geared Turbo Fan). The models are the PW1100G-JM and the PW1400G-JM. The Powerplants are a shared venture program, with Pratt & Whitney owning a 51% share. The engine is currently utilized on the A320neo family of aircraft.


The Global Impact Of The Pratt & Whitney Engine Issues

The issue led to a $5.4 billion charge to RTX, parent company of Pratt & Whitney.

We have covered the issue closely in a previous article. But let’s go over some of the most notable problems affecting the fuel-efficient, next-generation high-bypass engines. Last year, RTX, the parent company of P&W, disclosed a rare condition in powder metal used to manufacture certain engine parts. It constrained airlines to ground their A320 fleets and disassemble the engines for inspection. Some notable airlines include Cebu Pacific, Spirit Airlines, All Nippon Airways, Air New Zealand, Hawaiian Airlines, Viva Aerobus, IndiGo, and Volaris. The GTF engines have been reported to feature a flaw in several parts, including a faulty metal powder. These specific parts can corrode more quickly and cause cracks throughout the geared turbofan engines.

RTX Chief Executive Officer Greg Hayes commented on the situation.

This is a complex and disappointing situation. We’re laser-focused on addressing this in the most expeditious and financially sound way forward.

As a result, in 2023, it was expected that over 3,000 engines would have to be inspected, impacting the global fleet of the famous A320neo family.

Check out this video if you wonder what the GTF engines sound like during takeoff.

Bottom line

The front of three Pratt & Whitney engines.
Photo: Pratt & Whitney

Although these issues may concern some readers, you must remember that the aviation industry has a firm risk-mitigation culture. This means that every fault, even if minor and even if it does not affect the safety of a flight, is reported, inspected, and fixed. So, the fact that the airline is grounding some of the jets and that manufacturers are taking steps to ensure the fault is mitigated proves that flying on GTF-powered jets remains exceptionally safe. Airlines like Icelandair continue to choose the manufacturer and their best-selling engines to power their future fleet of narrowbody aircraft.

What do you think of those engine troubles? Have you flown on an A320neo recently? Let us know in the comments below!

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