Spirit Airlines Selects Pratt & Whitney GTF engines; P&W to develop gas turbine tech with NASA

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Spirit Airlines
(PHOTO: Via Pratt & Whitney)

FlightSafeyPratt & Whitney announced that Spirit Airlines has selected GTF engines to power its latest order of 100 firm and 50 option Airbus A320neo family aircraft, with deliveries expected to begin in 2023. The airline’s fleet will also be covered by a new EngineWise Comprehensive long-term maintenance agreement. With this selection, Pratt & Whitney has announced more than 1,200 GTF engine orders and commitments since the beginning of 2021.

“Spirit operates one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient fleets in the industry, and this order for the latest GTF engines, combined with our existing pipeline of brand-new aircraft, will ensure we continue leading the way,” said Spirit Airlines’ Chief Financial Officer Scott Haralson. “Pairing new planes with the latest engine technology from our long-term business partner Pratt & Whitney allows us to accomplish our mission of delivering the best value in the sky.”

As the first A320neo operator in the United States and Canada, Spirit previously selected GTF engines to power 55 owned and 13 leased A320neo family aircraft, of which 43 have been delivered. The airline also operates a fleet of 125 A320ceo family aircraft with V2500® engines. Spirit has relied on engines from Pratt & Whitney to power its entire fleet since the airline started operations in the 1980s, when it operated DC-9 and MD-80 family aircraft with JT8D engines.

Efficient gas turbine tech to be developed with NASA HyTEC Project
Pratt & Whitney has been selected by NASA to develop advanced high pressure turbine technologies that will reduce fuel consumption and emissions for next generation single-aisle aircraft. The Hybrid Thermally Efficient Core (HyTEC) project is part of NASA’s Sustainable Flight National Partnership, which is intended to enable breakthrough innovations and help accomplish the aviation industry’s ambitious goals to significantly reduce CO2 emissions by 2050.

Pratt & Whitney will leverage its recently opened ceramic matrix composites (CMC) center of excellence in Carlsbad, California, and collaborate with Raytheon Technologies Research Centre on the project. The technologies targeted by HyTEC include next generation CMC materials capable of operating at higher temperatures than current CMCs, environmental barrier coatings, and advanced cooling and aerodynamic approaches that will enable new component designs and efficiencies. By increasing the thermal efficiency of the high-pressure turbine, these technologies will contribute to greater fuel efficiency in future gas turbine propulsion systems.

“We are delighted to work with NASA on developing the next generation of more fuel efficient and low emission aircraft technologies,” said Geoff Hunt, senior vice president, Engineering and Technology, at Pratt & Whitney. “Advanced materials such as CMC vanes will enable greater thermal efficiencies and combined with today’s propulsive efficiency of the GTF engine architecture, will help make future aircraft propulsion systems even more sustainable.”

Collaboration between Pratt & Whitney and NASA has already led to several key advances in sustainable propulsion technology in recent decades, including low-pressure fan, low-emissions combustor and high-performance hot section. These collaborations have a vital role to play towards developing and maturing technologies that will ultimately help make aviation more sustainable environmentally and economically.

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