Paris - Engine manufacturers Pratt & Whitney and Safran Group think that the production expansion plan of Airbus for 70 A320neo per month is not realistic.

It would be crazy to do that today as we are still in the process of ramping up production,
Safran boss Philippe Petitcolin said on February 27 in Paris.

He is not sure if their suppliers could handle such a huge demand. According to Safran boss, a production rate of 70 copies per month is not feasible before 2021.

Last week, United Technologies, the parent company of Pratt & Whitney, had already described such an expansion as "really difficult."

So far, the plan was to produce 60 medium-haul jets each month from mid-2019. But in the balance sheet presentation in mid-February, the European manufacturer stated its desire for an expansion to 70 single-aisle per month.

CFM International, French Safran's joint venture with the US General Electric, builds engines for the Airbus A320neo and Boeing 737 MAX. CFM Leap-1B is the only engine type for the 737 MAX. For A320neo, buyers can choose between the CFM Leap-1A and the Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan (GTF), PW1100G-JM

Both engines have a significantly lower fuel consumption than their predecessors. However, CFM's deliveries are already four to five weeks behind schedule, and Pratt & Whitney continues to struggle with technical difficulties. After the heat and software problems, the manufacturer had already fallen behind the schedule by months.

At the moment, Pratt & Whitney cannot deliver its GTF because of a lately emerged problem. Some of the engines stopped in flight since December 2017. EASA and FAA published Emergency Airworthiness Directives advising operators to replace the affected engines or ground the aircraft equipped with those engines.

The manufacturer said that the technical modification it had made in mid-2017 to the rotor of the high-pressure compressor to extend the life of the knife seals caused the problem. Now Pratt & Whitney is switching back to the previous version.

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