Pratt & Whitney’s signature commercial product, the Geared Turbofan engine, has held up remarkably well during the global pandemic. It is flying on 1,100 jets operated by 62 airlines, and its dispatch reliability rate is a world-class 99.98%. Its utilization rate on the Airbus A320neo surpasses that of the rival LEAP engine, which lacks a geared technology. Therein lies the key performance advantage of Pratt’s engine. Both companies can refine their designs with new materials, modify them for sustainable fuels, and so on. But only Pratt & Whitney has the geared technology that enables the fan at the front of the engine and the compressors and turbines further back to all turn at optimum speeds. Without reduction gears on their shared shaft, that isn’t feasible. So Pratt is now looking at options for scaling up the Geared Turbofan for use on additional classes of aircraft. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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