P&WC moving forward with NGRT development and PW100 family expansion
Through its versatile family of PW100 turboprop engines, Pratt & Whitney Canada has been one of the driving forces behind the creation and exponential growth of regional airlines over the past three decades. While the list of accomplishments is considerable, P&WC has always focused on the future and how to expand the capacity of regional airlines.
“Today, approximately 90 per cent of 30- to 70- passenger regional turboprop aircraft operating around the world are powered by PW100 engines,” says Richard Dussault, Vice President, Marketing, P&WC. “We obviously have a legacy of which we are proud, but our focus has always been to drive innovation in product development and customer service support.”
An initiative that is receiving a lot of attention is its Next-Generation Regional Turboprop (NGRT) engine. A key component of the engine is its unique compressor system development. Phase 2 testing of the compressor is expected to be complete by January, 2016. The NGRT is being developed with an eye to the 90-seat aircraft market. The NGRT engine will deliver in the range of 5,000 to 7,000 shp and will feature economic and environmental benefits that will keep the competitive advantage that regional turboprops have in high-frequency, short-haul routes.
“We continue to have discussions with all our customers with the intent of creating an engine that meets their exact specifications and optimizes design for the next generation of regional turboprops,” says Dussault. “We know there is a need for something beyond the PW100 family of engines.”
Even as NGRT work is under way, P&WC continues to expand its PW100 engine portfolio. The PW150C engine made news recently when it was selected by Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) to power its new 70-seat regional turboprop, the MA700. In August, AVIC announced it had received 185 orders for the aircraft. “The enhancements in the engine are customized to meet the specific needs of the MA700 to provide significant fuel-burn economics,” says Dussault. AVIC hopes to achieve certification of the new aircraft from the Civil Aviation Administration of China by 2019, after which it will seek U. S. Federal Aviation Administration certification.
In 2014, P&WC announced the new PW127N engine which was certified in May of this year. The engine powers the ATR 72-600 and the first applications are with Avianca in South America. The PW127N offers four-and-a-half per cent more take-off power than the PW127M variant which is the current standard engine serving the ATR family. The company is also looking at hot end improvements for the engine expected to reduce fuel burn by about two per cent.
The PW100 fleet reached an important milestone recently with Brazilian airline Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras. AZUL announced that it has exceeded one million hours of flight on its ATR fleet powered by the PW127M engine. The engines allow AZUL to maintain aircraft performance, excellent dispatch reliability and adherence to flight schedules. The engine and the aircraft it powers are a key element of AZUL’s business strategy which is to connect cities in Brazil’s interior to major hubs. AZUL serves 100 destinations within Brazil.
P&WC has also been moving forward with the restructuring of its Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) business. In May, 2014, Pratt & Whitney announced that all of its commercial APU business would be centralized in Pratt & Whitney Canada. The company has recently received EASA approval for the location of its APU Design Authority office in Rzeszow, Poland. Pratt & Whitney has traditionally played a strong role in the APU industry, and notably so in the regional airline market. With the transfer of the commercial APU business from P&W, P&WC now finds itself in the enviable role of serving regional aircraft such as the Bombardier Q400, the Embraer E-Jet and E2, the MRJ, in addition to larger commercial APUs.
“In terms of integrating our APU business, we are moving forward,” says Dussault. “Our functional teams in engineering, operations, customer service, contracts and supply management have been fully staffed and trained. The official hand off will take place later this year.”