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UTC CEO: Despite "Teething Problems," PurePower Is Delivering

Jun 7, 2016

United Technologies CEO Greg Hayes has hit back at criticism of Pratt and Whitney’s geared turbofan engine, saying the new technology is delivering.

Pratt’s PurePower geared turbofan, some 20 years in development, went into service for the first time earlier this year, with the promise of big fuel savings, less pollution, and quieter performance. But it’s already hit snags with airlines complaining about technical issues.

UTC CEO Greg Hayes addresses the media.
Credit Harriet Jones / WNPR

Just last week, Qatar Airlines said it would consider alternative engine suppliers for its order of Airbus A320neo jets if Pratt couldn’t meet its demands.

“Obviously, we’ve had some teething problems, that everybody has heard of," Hayes told the press gathered at a United Technologies media day Monday. "We have one customer who was particularly vocal. But the fact of the matter is, the engines are doing exactly what we said they would do.”

He said that with six planes now flying, the PurePower is delivering on its promises.

“Since it went in service at Lufthansa back in January, we’ve had over 99 percent, 99.75 percent in fact dispatch reliability with the engine. That’s a heck of an achievement for a brand new out of the box engine,” he said.

He says by the end of this year, there should be 50 aircraft powered by the geared turbofan in service, and Pratt is on course within the next 15 years to double the total number of engines it has flying.

Promoting what he called a big bet on commercial aerospace, Hayes couldn’t resist a side swipe at a neighbor and rival in the engine business, poking some fun at General Electric’s widely touted digital strategy.

“Unlike that light bulb company in Fairfield that’s moving to Boston, we’re not going to be a software company,” he smiled.

The next challenge for the geared turbofan engine, driving down costs. Currently at $10 million per engine, Hayes said the goal is to hit $2 million per engine.