Pratt & Whitney Canada’s prospects in the business jet and general aviation markets remain bright despite the air of economic uncertainty stemming from the U.S. investment industry crisis, according to senior company officials.
“There is a very strong backlog for our products,” said John Saabas, Pratt & Whitney Canada executive vice president. “We are emphasizing that we are still doing very well across all of our jet lines, and with the PT6 turboshaft line for the general aviation market.”
Asked whether he anticipates that the credit crisis in U.S. financial markets will affect Pratt & Whitney Canada’s business prospects, Saabas said indications right now appear to say no. “We don’t expect it to have an impact on our order book, which remains strong,” he said. “There could be a downturn in the future, but right now we don’t see it. One thing that doesn’t change, in good times and bad times we continue to invest in products.”
As new P&WC engines continue moving toward certification and entry into service, Saabas said the PW810 large turbofan is furthest along in detail design. “We have lined up 80 percent of our suppliers for that engine. We’ve gotten through the critical design review and we’re on track for first engine run next summer, including a complete engine core and accessories.”
P&WC’s PW300 turbofan line continues to move forward with the PW307B engine for the new Bombardier Learjet 85. The program is progressing on schedule with Bombardier, Saabas said, with an engine rated in the 6,000-pound thrust class. “This of course is the same engine as on the Dassault Falcon 7X, modified to fit the Learjet 85,” he noted.
He added that the 3,360-pound takeoff thrust PW535E for the Embraer Phenom 300 continues to advance as well. “We expect it to be certified late this year or early in 2009. The PW617 for the Phenom 100 was certified last month and we are on schedule with that program as well.” In addition, two flightworthy experimental PW210S turboshaft engines for the Sikorsky S-76D have been sent to the manufacturer for flight test, and the program is on track.
Expanding Product Support
Aftermarket support continues to be a major emphasis for P&WC, Saabas said. The company has opened a new parts distribution center in Sydney, Australia, to complement centers in Singapore, Amsterdam and Muskegon, Mich.
The engine maker has also restructured its support centers to respond to customer and industry surveys because, according to Saabas, “the feedback we have been getting is that we need to make it easier for them to do business with us. So, we must restructure how we look on the inside so we can support them better on the outside.
“This is a natural evolution of our Customer First Center, which we introduced last year to handle nothing but AOGs and other high visibility issues. The whole idea is that when they call they can get their issues and requirements taken care of quickly and efficiently. All the players are colocated–engineers, technicians, logistics–for swifter response.”
Pratt & Whitney Canada is exhibiting in Booth No. 210.