INTERVIEW / PRATT & WHITNEY
Palash Roy Chowdhury, Managing Director - India, Pratt & Whitney in conversation with Neetu Dhulia on the sidelines of Wings India 2018
Neetu Dhulia (Dhulia): Briefly talk about Pratt & Whitney’s over seven decades of association with India?
Palash Roy Chowdhury (Chowdhury): Pratt & Whitney is part of United Technologies Corp., one of the world’s largest suppliers of aerospace products, with an established presence in India. Offering engine solutions for over seven decades now, Pratt & Whitney has played a significant role in India’s aviation growth story. The company’s product suite includes large commercial engines, military engines, small jet and turboprop engines, and other general, regional and civilian powered flight engines.
The first Boeing 707-437 powered by Pratt & Whitney’s JT3D engine was delivered to Air India in 1960. Air India was the first carrier in India to operate Pratt & Whitney’s PW4000 100-inch engines powering an Airbus A330. There are well over 100 aircraft in India powered by V2500 engines made by Pratt & Whitney and International Aero Engines AG, a consortium in which Pratt & Whitney is a majority shareholder. The company is now delivering the PurePower® Geared Turbofan ™ engines for Airbus aircraft ordered by airlines in India. There are also 10 C-17 military transport aircraft in India that are powered by Pratt & Whitney’s F117 engines.
Most recently in October 2017, IndiGo, signed a 10-year engine maintenance contract for its ATR planes with Pratt & Whitney Canada. IndiGo has chosen ATR72-600 aircraft flying on regional routes in India, which will be powered in PW127M engines. The 10-year contract will be applicable from the date of each engine’s entry into service and can be extended thereafter.
Dhulia: How has been the response to your training centre in Hyderabad?
Chowdhury: The response has been tremendous since its launch in September 2015. Post receiving certification from DGCA in April 2017 the training centre is now fully approved to offer DGCAapproved training sessions on V2500-A5 engines. It is also expected to offer courses on PW1100GJM and other models from the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) family of engines soon. This Pratt & Whitney training center, established to address the shortage of a skilled work force in India’s aviation industry, is only the third such Pratt & Whitney facility in the world. We have already provided more than 2000 student days training and are working closely with a number of universities and state governments to establish a robust aviation skill development platform in the country.
Dhulia: What are the initiatives taken by Pratt & Whitney under the government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative?
Chowdhury: As a company that is deeply embedded in India, we firmly support the ‘Make in India’ campaign that has significantly provided impetus to India’s economic growth since its launch. Today, the country is fostering a culture of innovation and technological advancements in all business spheres including aerospace and defence to make India self-sufficient in producing unique and advanced products and slowly reduce dependency on imports.
We source engineering and design services from a number of Indian companies, for some of its most advanced aerospace products. There are more than 1,000 engineers in India working on global projects for us. We have established a chair and a centre of excellence at the renowned Indian Institute of Sciences (IISC) focusing on high-end research in the area of turbo machinery.
We believe that ‘Make in India’ can only be successful if Skill India succeeds. Skill development will be a cornerstone of aviation growth. Companies like Pratt & Whitney are playing a significant role in this area. We have invested in a world class customer training centre that opened in 2015 in Hyderabad and received certification from DGCA in April 2017. We have already provided more than 2000 student days training at the center and are working with a number of universities and state governments to establish a robust aviation skill development platform in the country.
Dhulia: Please comment on the recent restrictions imposed by EASA on A320neo operations over concerns of potential dual engine in flight shutdown?
Chowdhury: This year at Wings 2018, we will showcase a scale-size model of Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engine. Our booth will have a virtual reality section to give a boroscopic experience to the visitors along with the touch-screen displays demonstrating the technical aspects of GTF engine. International specialists will be present at the booth to give demos and presentations of Pratt & Whitney’s equipment and products. We believe that Wings is a perfect platform for us to showcase our capabilities and also network with our customers, partners, etc.
Dhulia: Please comment on the restrictions imposed by EASA on A320neo operations over concerns of potential dual engine in flight shutdown?
Chowdhury: Pratt & Whitney has released a revised configuration as a solution to the issue relating to a knife edge seal on the High Pressure Compressor (HPC) aft hub which affected a limited subpopulation of the PW1100G-JM engine that powers the Airbus A320neo aircraft.
The solution is based on a design with which the company has significant experience, and this solution has received all necessary regulatory approvals. Pratt & Whitney has begun implementing this solution and production engine deliveries incorporating this change will begin in early March. The company will continue to work with Airbus and its mutual airline customers to minimise operational disruption.
Pratt & Whitney implemented an engineering change in mid-2017 that was intended to improve the durability of the knife edge seal for this engine. Engines that incorporated this engineering change entered revenue service on customer aircraft beginning in December 2017. In late January and early February of this year, four of these modified engines did not perform as anticipated.
The current population of impacted engines is 43 engines installed on 32 aircraft. There are also approximately 55 such engines delivered to the Airbus final assembly line awaiting installation on customer aircraft.
Dhulia: What is your outlook for India in 2018?
Chowdhury: The outlook for 2018 seems bright as we are excited to continue to deliver excellence with our broad range of products and services and meet customer needs to achieve long-term growth. The GTF program is continuing to attract new orders and is ramping up production deliveries, all while supporting a growing in-service fleet. It’s the industry-disrupting technologies that set the GTF apart from its competition and allow its game-changing performance. We have invested more than 20 years in the engine, maturing 48 new technologies that enable its impressive results. To meet the production demands of a historic engine ramp, we have invested more than $1.3 billion in 21st Century, global production facilities to deliver the products quicker and with the highest quality.
We see a huge potential in India. As we move forward, we will continue to support the country with our powerful portfolio of products and services and the right combination of experience and advanced technologies.
Dhulia: What is Pratt & Whitney’s level of participation at Wings this year?
Chowdhury: This year at Wings 2018, we will showcase a scale-size model of Geared Turbofan™ (GTF) engine. Our booth will have a virtual reality section to give a boroscopic experience to the visitors along with the touch-screen displays demonstrating the technical aspects of GTF engine. International specialists will be present at the booth to give demos and presentations of Pratt & Whitney’s equipment and products. We believe that Wings is a perfect platform for us to showcase our capabilities and also network with our customers, partners etc.