LONDON – This week, Airbus sent its Airbus A320neo testbed to Iqaluit for cold weather testing on the new Pratt & Whitney GTF Advantage engine.
AIB601/602 departed Toulouse on January 10 and headed over to Iqaluit via Reykjavik to begin this process of testing.
F-WNEO is an eight-year-old A320neo that has been a big player in the development of the aircraft over the years.
The GTF Advantage Engine…
The GTF Advantage engine was launched in December 2021 and has completed more than 2,400 hours of testing from its 7,800 cycles.
Certification of the engine type, the updated version of the Geared Turbofan, will continue into the first half of this year.
Back in October, Pratt & Whitney gave an update on the engine so far:
“This early flight test campaign will continue to mature the engine by testing it in a variety of environments, including hot and cold weather and operation from high-altitude airports.”
“Engine certification will continue through the first half of 2023, including flights currently underway on the Pratt & Whitney flying test bed in Mirabel (Canada), as well as extensive endurance testing to ensure product maturity at entry into service.”
“The engine has completed more than 2.400 hours and 7.800 cycles of testing, including a successful test on 100% sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).”
Potential Candidate for the A321XLR?
With the GTF Advantage, it will offer a 4% increase in takeoff thrust at sea level and 8% at higher altitudes, with Pratt indicating that it would enable larger ranges.
As per AirInsight, this would make the engine a potential candidate for propulsion on the A321XLR.
If those additional benefits, this would set up Pratt & Whitney in a good space for securing more business, on top of what they have accrued from Airbus so far with the neo.
With Pratt & Whitney also demonstrating that the Advantage engine can run on 100% SAF, that will be another selling point for Airbus to consider.
At the moment, the Advantage engine can only run at around 50% SAF on a certification basis, but recent tests will no doubt change that condition.
It remains clear that the GTF Advantage engine could provide some interesting updates to the A320neo Family aircraft.
That, alongside the potential for A321XLR usage, does open up Pratt & Whitney to more revenue streams moving forward.
Either way, with P&W already having thousands of engines on order, it is all about the preservation of backlog.
All eyes will be on the engine supplier to see what the outcome of the Cold Weather testing will be, as well as whether the new variant of the engine will get certified.
For Airbus, the hope will be that the GTF Advantage engine gets certified so then it can showcase more efficiency savings for customers, old and present.