Pratt & Whitney PW4000-94 Achieves 35th Year & 150 Million Flight Hours

Rear view of a Pratt & Whitney PW4000-94 jet engine.
PW4000 powered MD11. Photo Credit: Pratt & Whitney

LONDON – On December 19, the aircraft engine manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney announced that their ever-popular PW4000-94 series engine has achieved two massive milestones.

One being 35 years of service and the second being 150 million flight hours of operation.

PW4000-94 Milestones

Marking a new chapter in the history books for Pratt & Whitney, their highly popular engine, the PW4000-94-inch has achieved 35 years of operational experience as well as surpassing its usage of 150 million flight hours and still counting.

Since the engines’ entrance into service back in 1987, over 2,500 of the type have been delivered to both commercial and military operators.

This particular engine type is mostly found on the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, Boeing 747, Boeing 767, Airbus A300, Airbus A310 and Boeing KC-46A aircraft types.

The entire 2,500 engine is spread across over 70 different customers in 30 different countries worldwide, a huge accolade for Pratt & Whitney, that certainly signifies the engines incredible dependability and reliability.

The engine is utilised on all types of large aircraft operations, be it commercial passenger and cargo to military usage as well.

Out of these operational types, the PW4000-94 engine is mainly used for cargo aircraft, with 55% of engines in service being utilised within cargo operations – on Boeing 747 Freighters, Boeing 767 Freighters or McDonnell Douglas MD-11 Freighters.

The PW4000-92-inch engine was the first model that was dedicated to Pratt & Whitney’s high-thrust family of engines that are responsible for powering large aircraft, with an astonishing figure of being able to achieve between 52,000 to 62,000 pounds of thrust.

One major airline that has utilised this engine type is United Airlines. They took delivery of their first PW4000-94 powered Boeing 747-400 aircraft in 1989, followed by Boeing 767-300’s powered by the type in 1991 where the engine has powered 81 of their aircraft.

Leader Comments

Pratt & Whitney’s Vice President of Operational Commercial Engines, Bernie Zimmerman, adds his thoughts about the company’s latest major milestones, saying: “This milestone is a testament to the PW4000-94-inch engine’s legacy of reliability and performance.”

“The 94-inch offers excellent operational flexibility and fuel economy and lower noise versus the competing engine. It’s an engine that’s been proven on a variety of applications – passenger, cargo, and military.”

Adding to Pratt & Whitney’s latest historic achievement, United Airlines’ Vice President of Technical Services, John Wiitala, says:

“United has appreciated the reliability, great fuel economy and low maintenance costs of these engines. It’s no surprise that these Pratt & Whitney engines have served United and our customers well for 33 years and counting.”


Even though the PW4000-94 was introduced 35 years ago, the engine is still widely used on the aforementioned airframes, showing how far ahead the technology and performance the engine provided at its time of introduction back in 1987.

With low maintenance costs and high reliability, it’s no wonder why many operators utilise the engine type and still continue to put their trust into it each day.

We will still be seeing this engine type used for at least the next three to five decades, especially within the cargo and military space.

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