Wednesday, September 7, 2011

737 MAX Engine too small , says Pratt

Posted by- Neelam Mathews
Sept 7, 2011

Facing the challenge of Airbus' revamped A320neo family, Boeing announced last month it would  roll out the 737 narrow-body with a new engine in 2017, named 737 MAX. Now Pratt & Whitney CEO David Hess has said Boeing may be forced to go back to the drawing board for a new airplane to protect sales.

Pratt & Whitney believes the engine chosen by Boeing is too small.

"Time will tell. Boeing responded to pressure ... and if they feel they don't have a competitive airplane against the (Airbus) A320neo, they may be forced to accelerate or look at their plans for a (new plane)," Pratt & Whitney Chief Executive David Hess said.

Pratt & Whitney competes with CFM, a joint venture of General Electric (GE.N) and France's Safran to supply engines for the revamped Airbus A320neo. CFM has an exclusive deal for the 737 and its upgraded successor, the 737 MAX.

Hess has questioned Boeing's decision on the 737 MAX because the fan of CFM's LEAP-X engine would be 66-68 inches, compared with 81 inches on Pratt's engine for the A320neo, called the Geared Turbofan. (The size of the fan affects thrust and efficiency).

"I would be surprised if it is 15 years before (Boeing) launch a ... new narrowbody airplane," Hess told the annual Reuters Aerospace & Defense Summit.

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