• Commercial Engines

Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan. Reflecting back as we look forward.

May 2017

Imagine a sky full of commercial jets that fly quieter, cleaner, and more efficiently. Picture a world where operators, lessors, airframers and engine manufacturers work together to drive progress in the form of commercial aviation. In 1988, that vision inspired us. It invited us to explore new territories and pioneer new ways of thinking about commercial air travel. So we set out on a journey, along with our partners and customers, to develop an engine that would transform the commercial narrowbody and regional jet market – the Geared TurbofanTM (GTF).

Traditionally, innovation in our industry is focused on wide-body designs and higher bypass engines. The regional and single-aisle markets were left fighting against rising energy prices and stricter environmental regulations. We knew the challenge called for a brand new technology. One built by a dedicated team of engineers passionate and devoted to bringing it to life. We believed in our ability to leverage 90 years of expertise along with the kind of breakthrough innovation we’ve driven in our military business. Most importantly, we knew it would require customers who believed in its potential to drive their business and our industry forward.

Fast-forward twenty years… the vision began coming into focus. In 2007, both Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation and Bombardier selected the GTF engine as their exclusive engine for the MRJ and CSeries families, respectively. One year later, Airbus entered the GTF into its flight demonstrator program. They conducted a series of tests and asked their best test pilots to put the engine through its paces. The results were clear and Airbus signed on, deciding that an evolution of the A320 family was the way forward. The new engine option, or “neo” was born.

The GTF was then selected by Irkut to launch the all new MC-21 narrow-body, and later selected by Embraer as the exclusive powerplant for the E-Jets E2 family. In total, five aircraft manufacturers have selected the GTF to power their next generation platforms. In recent news, airBaltic has officially begun the transformation of its fleet by way of the Bombardier CSeries powered by the GTF. Swiss Airlines is also weighing in, indicating that the CSeries is performing better than Bombardier’s promises. “The aircraft is actually behaving much better at entry into service then what we expected,” said Peter Koch, Swiss senior director and fleet chief for the CSeries. “We’re very happy with the fuel burn.”

We’re excited about how far we’ve come and what the future holds and, at the same time know we have to take steps to get even better. We’re committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure our customers’ success. We’re grateful for your trust and partnership in realizing a vision that began over 30 years ago and required over $10 billion of investment. We believe that investment will yield significant savings across the regional jet and single aisle markets. So together, with our partners and customers, we aim to go beyond the expectations set so many years ago. And we look forward to the day we look up to a sky full of game-changing aviation technology.

© 2020 United Technologies Corporation — Pratt & Whitney Division