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Pratt & Whitney Engines on Airbus Jets Need to Be Removed, Inspected

It is a "rare condition."

The new Airbus A320neo takes off for its first test flight at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, southwestern France, Sept. 25, 2014.
The new Airbus A320neo takes off for its first test flight at Toulouse-Blagnac airport, southwestern France, Sept. 25, 2014.
AP Photo/Frederic Lancelot, File

DALLAS (AP) β€” A large number of Airbus passenger jets will need to have their engines removed and inspected in the coming months after engine maker Pratt & Whitney discovered a problem that could cause parts to wear out more quickly, potentially adding to stress on airlines during the remainder of a hectic summer travel season.

Shares of Pratt & Whitney parent RTX Corp. fell 11% Tuesday afternoon after the company disclosed the issue.

RTX said that a "rare condition" in powder metal used to manufacture certain parts made between late 2015 and mid-2021 will require speeded-up fleet inspections. The engine involved is most often used to power the Airbus A320neo, a midsize jet popular for short and medium-distance flights.

The company said it expects that about 200 of Pratt PW1100 engines will need to be pulled off and inspected by mid-September, and another 1,000 engines will need inspections in the next nine to 12 months.

Many Airbus A320 family jets use engines from CFM, but nearly 800 A320 and A321s have the affected Pratt engines, according to aviation-data firm Cirium. Indian low-cost airline IndiGo has nearly 140, Air China has 43, Germany's Lufthansa has 37, and Mexico's Volaris has 35.

Among U.S. carriers, Spirit Airlines received 34 of the planes, Hawaiian Airlines has 18 and JetBlue Airways 16, according to Cirium.

On a call with analysts, RTX Chief Operating Officer Christopher Calio said that the problem does not affect current production, and Pratt will continue to produce new engines and spare parts, but the life of parts made between late 2015 and mid-2021 could be reduced.

Pratt had planned to schedule "enhanced inspections" during normal maintenance stops, but based on recent discoveries, it decided that the inspections β€” focused on high-pressure turbine disks β€” needed to be speeded up, Calio said. He said the company is developing plans to conduct the inspections as quickly as possible.

The disclosure was made as RTX, formerly known as Raytheon Technologies, reported second-quarter earnings of $1.3 billion, up 2% from a year earlier. After adjusting for one-time items, the profit came to $1.29 per share, beating the $1.18 consensus forecast of analysts.

Revenue rose 12% to $18.3 billion, topping analysts' prediction of less than $17.7 billion, according to a FactSet survey. Pratt accounted for about one-third of sales.


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