Pratt & Whitney Canada president Alain Bellemare said at a press conference here yesterday that he was optimistic about the continued growth of the engine business, adding that the firm is in a better position than in past downturns because of P&WC’s wide areas of application. He said he believes that when the market starts picking up, this diversity will be useful for the company. “Next year will be a challenging one, but we believe that 2004 will see the start of recovery,” he noted.
Part of the growth is reflected in the expansion and upgrading of Pratt & Whitney Engine Services fly-in repair and service capabilities at Harrison Marion Regional Airport in Bridgeport, W.Va., with the construction of a new 22,000-sq-ft hangar. Two-thirds of the new hangar space will accommodate aircraft and the rest will be used for an all-new, quick-turnaround heavy maintenance line (HEMA). PT6, PW300, PW500 and JTD15D engine series can be accommodated there. The new building also features an improved customer lounge and rest areas for pilots and crews.
P&WC expects to start deliveries of 800-shp PT6A-66A production engines by the end of the year for the single-engine, nine-passenger Ibis Ae270HP turboprop being developed by Ibis Aerospace, a joint venture between Aero Vodochody of the Czech Republic and AIDC of Taiwan.
Pratt’s affiliated Altair Avionics Corp. has also expanded in new facilities in Norwood, Mass. Altair specializes in aerospace data management and electronics monitoring systems and it has equipped more than 70 new aircraft with its Aircraft Data Acquisition System (ADAS) in the last several months.
In Japan, P&WC said it powers 80 percent of the light-twin helicopter market, and has captured 100 percent of this year’s market. One example given was Nakanihon Air Service Co., which recently ordered two EC 135 helicopters powered by PW206Be engines. The two helicopters join the company’s fleet of more than 50 aircraft, many powered by Pratt & Whitney.
New support programs include a plan for the PT6A-41/42 product line, available at company-owned or designated facilities. Substantial reductions, ranging from $50,000 to $58,000, are offered to customers who choose upgrades–new power turbine blades and disks and a hot-section upgrade–as part of an engine overhaul.
The Service Center Network of P&WC recently implemented a fully integrated maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) solution based on a SAP business program. Initial implementation was at the St. Hubert, Quebec facility, with plans for the entire network to be online.
The MRO solution is an online plan that will support and manage all aspects of a service center’s business. The new electronic inspection workbench feature will manage the engine configuration and incorporates service bulletins, customer requirements and airworthiness certificates.