A320neo aircraft engines: CFM achieves 56% share of orders; Pratt & Whitney remains active


CFM International and Pratt & Whitney have been competing to supply engines for the A320neo family since the neo programme was launched in late 2010. CFM has so far accounted for 57% of deliveries and currently accounts for 56% of all A320neo family engine orders, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

While Pratt & Whitney is behind, the gap with CFM is relatively small, given the multiple delays encountered by Pratt & Whitney. There are nearly 2,500 A320neo family aircraft on order that still do not have an engine allocation, providing ample opportunity for Pratt & Whitney to narrow the gap.

Royal Brunei Airlines recently become the second A320neo family customer after Qatar Airways to switch engine suppliers, dropping its initial contracts with Pratt & Whitney in favour of CFM. However, these two customers account for only 3% of the orders placed with CFM.


Royal Brunei switches A320neo engine selection from Pratt & Whitney to CFM

Royal Brunei Airlines announced at the Singapore Airshow on 6-Feb-2018 the selection of CFM International LEAP-1A engines to power the seven A320neos it ordered in May-2014. Royal Brunei initially selected the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G to power its seven A320neos, signing an agreement with Pratt & Whitney in the same month as placing the order with Airbus.

The switch in engine suppliers by Royal Brunei comes just a few months prior to delivery of the airline’s first aircraft. Royal Brunei was impacted by PW1100G delivery delays – as was virtually every other PW1110G customer. The decision to switch to the LEAP-1A should provide more certainty in its A320neo delivery schedule.

A reliable delivery schedule is important for any airline, but particularly a small airline such as Royal Brunei. As CAPA highlighted in a Jan-2018 analysis report, Royal Brunei’s A320neos are slated to be delivered from Apr-2018 to Oct-2018.

See related report: Brunei: SE Asia’s smallest market, and its national airline, poised for rapid growth in 2018

Taking seven aircraft in a span of seven months is a huge undertaking for an airline that currently only has a fleet of 10 aircraft. Switching to CFM should reduce the level of uncertainty as, unlike the PW1100G deliveries, the LEAP-1A deliveries have not been set back by delays.    

Qatar Airways has switched engine suppliers also

Royal Brunei is the second airline to switch engine suppliers because of delivery delays caused by PW1100G engine issues. Qatar Airways is the only other airline to change engine suppliers since the A320neo family programme was launched in 2010.

Qatar is a much higher-profile example as it was the original launch customer for the A320neo and was very vocal when the A320neo programme started to experience engine-related delays in 2015. Qatar ended up refusing to take delivery of the first batch of Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neos after they had already been produced. At the last second Lufthansa became the launch operator, taking the world’s first A320neo (powered by Pratt & Whitney) in Jan-2016.

Qatar later converted its order for 34 A320neos to A321neos, increasing its A321neo commitment from an original 16 aircraft to 50 aircraft. Qatar stated in late 2017 that it had selected the LEAP-1A for all 50 aircraft. Qatar currently has 50 A321neos on order, with deliveries starting later this year, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

Pratt & Whitney has 44% share of the order book despite setbacks

While losing Royal Brunei and Qatar is obviously disappointing to Pratt & Whitney, the 57 aircraft represent a very small proportion of the A320neo family order book. Pratt & Whitney currently has a 44% share of A320neo family engine orders and would have a 46% share had it not lost Royal Brunei and Qatar as customers.

There are currently nearly 6,000 A320neo family aircraft on order. CFM has been selected to power more than 1,800 of these aircraft while Pratt & Whitney has been selected to power more than 1,400, according to the CAPA Fleet Database. The airlines and leasing companies which have ordered the remaining 2,400 aircraft have not yet specified engine selections.

A320neo family orders by engine: as of 23-Feb-2018

  CFM Pratt & Whitney Unspecified Total
A319neo  0  0 7 7
A320neo 1276 740 1817 3,833
A321neo 583 720 596 1,899
TOTAL  1,859 1,460 2,420 5,739

Pratt & Whitney is therefore fairly close to achieving a 50% market share despite multiple delays with the PW1100G programme over the past two years, which has impacted Airbus’ ability to deliver A320neos and A321neos.

Pratt & Whitney continues to win new customers

Pratt & Whitney has continued to sign up new customers, with several announcements over the past few months. The biggest recent contract was with Delta Air Lines in Dec-2017, which covered 100 A321neos that will be delivered from 2020.

At the 2018 Singapore Airshow Pratt & Whitney announced new PW1100G deals with Aircalin, powering two A320neos, and with Swiss, powering 15 A320neos/A321neos. The Swiss deliveries are slated to begin in 2019 and the Aircalin deliveries in 2020.

Pratt & Whitney also signed a contract at the Singapore Airshow with the Singapore-based leasing company BOC Aviation, covering engines for 12 A320neos/A321neos.

CFM has accounted for 57% of deliveries so far

The loss of contracts from Royal Brunei and Qatar could have a silver lining, in it may help Pratt & Whitney catch up with deliveries for several customers. Pratt & Whitney has so far delivered significantly fewer engines than CFM, despite being the lead engine supplier, and is currently behind schedule for several airline customers.

There are currently 136 LEAP-powered A320neos and 16 LEAP-powered A321neos in service, compared to 91 PW1100-powered A320neos and three LEAP-powered A321neos, according to the CAPA Fleet Database. In terms of aircraft delivered, the gap is slightly less, as there are currently four Pratt & Whitney-powered A321neos and 15 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neos that are out of service.

A320neo family deliveries by engine type: as of 23-Feb-2018

  CFM Pratt & Whitney Total
A320neo 136 106 242
A321neo 16 7* 23
TOTAL 152 113 265

Pratt & Whitney has delivered nearly 30% fewer engines for A320neos, despite having the first engine to enter service. The first CFM-powered A320neo was delivered in Jul-2016 (to Turkey’s Pegasus), which was six months after the delivery of the first Pratt & Whitney A320neo (to Lufthansa).

The PW1000 was also initially the lead engine on the A321neo, with deliveries slated to begin in late 2016. However, CFM ended up taking over the role of lead supplier due to delays at Pratt & Whitney. The first CFM-powered A321neo was delivered in Apr-2017 (to Virgin America), whereas the first Pratt & Whitney A321neo was not delivered until Sep-2017 (to Hawaiian Airlines).

Pratt & Whitney-powered A320/A321neo deliveries have slowed further, so far this year

Pratt & Whitney has continued to encounter setbacks in 2018, leading to more uncertainty with the delivery schedule to airlines this year.

There have not been any Pratt & Whitney-powered A321neo deliveries so far this year, while there have been two CFM-powered A321neo deliveries (to Interjet and Virgin America), according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

There also has been only one Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neo (to Air China) which has been delivered so far this year. There have been 12 CFM-powered A320neos delivered so far this year, lifting the total to 136 since the first delivery in Jul-2016, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

Knife edge seal issue the latest setback for Pratt & Whitney

Of the seven Pratt & Whitney-powered A321neos that were delivered in 2017, only three are currently in service.

The first aircraft for Volaris has not yet entered service since it was delivered at the end of 2017. Aircraft at Air Astana, Hawaiian Airlines and VietJet entered service in late 2017 but were removed from service earlier this month, due to engine-related issues. The only Pratt & Whitney-powered A321neos currently operating are two aircraft for All Nippon Airways and one for Hawaiian Airlines, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

There are also 15 Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neos that are currently grounded. Most of these aircraft were delivered in 4Q2017, and one was delivered in early 2018.

The 19 aircraft are grounded following EASA and FAA directives. EASA issued an emergency airworthiness directive on 9-Feb-2018 following several incidences of engine inflight shutdowns and rejected takeoffs. FAA followed with a similar directive on 14-Feb-2018, citing a knife edge seal failure which could lead to an inflight shutdown and rejected takeoffs.

Pratt & Whitney stated on 21-Feb-2018 that it had come up with a solution and had released a revised configuration to fix the knife edge seal on the high pressure compressor. The aircraft grounded by this issue should return to service over the next several weeks, and deliveries for new aircraft should resume.

Teething problems with new engines and aircraft are not unusual. Pratt & Whitney should eventually overcome all the issues and get back on track with deliveries. Its relatively strong order book and the fact that there have been only two airlines that have switched engine suppliers indicate that the long term impact of the multiple delays may not be significant.

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