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Yiru Zhang Valuations analyst at Ascend by Cirium
With their ‘new technology’ geared turbofan, the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engines were called the game-changer. The engine family has been selected to power some key aircraft models, including A320neo, A220, E-190/195 E2, MC-21, and SpaceJet because of its significantly improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions compared to previous generation models. However, there have been several technical issues with the engine family since it was entered service in 2017.
The recent announcement by KLM that it has tweaked the summer schedule has once again highlighted PW1000G issues, especially for the new generation PW1500/1900G. KLM is retaining several Embraer E190 E1s to manage a capacity shortage arising due to the technical problems of the PW 1900G powered E195 E2. Pratt & Whitney reportedly hasn’t been able to upgrade the affected engines due to supply issues and insufficient maintenance capacity. Some aircraft from other operators are also grounded because of similar reasons.
There is a relatively high number of PW 1000G fleet currently stored. It is clear from the chart below that the P&W powered A320 neo and A321 neo have higher storage rates when compared to the LEAP-1A fleet. Particularly for A320 neo, the number for the P&W fleet is 13.2% higher than the LEAP-1A fleets.
The most affected type seems to be A220, with the rapid fleet growth not matched by the increase in fleet hours. Some operators have been forced to find alternative models to fly their scheduled routes and maintain regular operations, in similar fashion to the above-mentioned example of KLM’s extended lease for the E190 E1. CurrentlyA220 has around an 18% stored fleet ratio.
Compared to A220, the E Jet E2 family is less affected overall with a smaller fleet base. The current stored E190/195 E2s are around 16%.
The temporary grounding has had a profound impact on airlines and has led to much unhappiness. Although Pratt & Whitney are managing the issue with revised technologies and engine upgrades, if the issue persists for too long, it may have an impact on the future orderbook.