Pratt & Whitney has expressed its readiness for the challenge to its APU business posed by the recent decision by Boeing and Safran to collaborate on their own product. Appearing on June 12 at the company’s Digital Accelerator in Brooklyn, New York, company president Bob Leduc acknowledged that the involvement of Boeing would create some further competitive “pressure,” but no more so than any other company would.
“Boeing made the decision to come into APUs; it’s just another competitor,” he said. “We’re confident in our technology, we’re confident in our product, and we’ll compete. Is it more pressure? Sure it is. But the competition is welcome.”
Pratt & Whitney Canada president John Saabas highlighted the company’s long pedigree in APU development, noting that his company’s APUs have run for more than 100 million hours and that 10,000 of its units now fly in the commercial aviation segment. “Right now we’ve got a very well established customer base,” said Saabas. “And we’ve found ourselves with some APUs as single source on some of the newer platforms as well. So, again, we’ll compete every day; we’ve got good products out there and we’ll find a way to stay in the marketplace.”
Announced in early June, the Boeing-Safran contract calls for both companies to maintain a 50 percent stake in the partnership, which they will base in the U.S. The sides hope to close the transaction in the second half of this year following the meeting of customary conditions including regulatory and antitrust clearance.
The arrangement will for the first time give Boeing an in-house capacity for APU provision, leaving respective Tier 1 suppliers for the 737 and 787, Honeywell and Pratt Canada, competitors rather than partners in the field.
Safran has built APUs since 1962, and now supplies a line whose largest member can produce up to 500 shp. Larger APUs from Honeywell appear in both the 737 and Airbus A320, while APUs from Pratt & Whitney Canada provide auxiliary power for the 787 and Airbus A380.