Pratt Engine Flaw to Idle Hundreds of A320s

Pratt & Whitney's latest flaw in its commercial jet engine will ground hundreds of A320neo aircraft.



September 11, 2023

DALLAS — Pratt & Whitney's latest flaw in its commercial jet engine will temporarily ground hundreds of Airbus SE A320neo aircraft over the next three years, causing operational disruptions for airlines worldwide.

RTX Corp. announced on Monday that it will face a significant financial impact due to a flaw in the engine manufacturing process. This flaw has necessitated accelerated inspections, resulting in a US$3 billion hit to the company's pretax results for the current quarter. As a consequence, RTX's shares experienced a decline of over 6% during morning trading.

A320neo with GTF Advantage. Photo: Pratt & Whitney

The GTF Engine and the A320neo

The issue revolves around the use of powder metal in the production of some Pratt & Whitney GTF engines, leading to the need for early inspections on hundreds of engines. The GTF (Geared Turbofan) is a high-bypass geared turbofan engine.

RTX expects 600 to 700 engines, or 350 aircraft, beyond their initial projection, to be removed for shop visits until 2026. The impact of this issue extends beyond RTX, affecting the entire global fleet that uses Pratt & Whitney's geared turbofan engine, including popular aircraft models like the Airbus A320neo. While it is expected that each plane will be down for just a short time for the inspection, as one of our readers rightly points out, it is a costly and time-consuming operation.

The GTF engine is used by dozens of airlines worldwide, including JetBlue (B6), Spirit Airlines (NK), and Hawaiian Airlines (HA).

Featured image: Airbus Industrie F-WNEO Airbus A320neo. Photo: Alberto Cucini/Airways