Big Times for Jet Engine Builders
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Pratt & Whitney Aircraft received $120 million worth of commercial jet engine business Thursday, bringing new civilian orders to $550 million in the last three months.
Only if the trend continues through the 1980s, however, is employment likely to be affected, a company spokesman said.
The spokesman, Phillip Giaramita, said Pratt & Whitney will build engines for six long-range Boeing 747-200 jumbo jets United Airlines agreed Thursday to purchase from Boeing Co. by the end of 1990.
United will also purchase 110 of Boeing’s smaller 737-300s, powered by CMF International 56-3 jet engines made jointly by General Electric Corp. and SNECMA, a French concern, GE spokesman Dwight Weber said from Evendale, Ohio.
GE and Snecma will evenly split revenues expected to reach $680 million for up to 240 installed and spare engines through the production run ending in September 1990, Weber said.
United’s purchase of the 747s was part of a larger, $3 billion deal involving 116 Boeing aircraft.
Two of the six Boeing 747s are to be delivered by June 1988, United said. Pratt & Whitney will deliver eight installed and two backup JT9D-7R4G2 engines - worth $40 million - for the first two 747s in the spring of 1987, according to Giaramita.
The most modern version of Pratt & Whitney’s 9D-series engine will power the remaining four 747s as well. This order, for 16 installed and two spare powerplants, is worth $80 million, Giaramita said.
In early October, Northwest Airlines announced it was buying 10 new-model 747-400s as part of a $2 billion order that included Pratt & Whitney engines worth $360 million. In September, the enginemaking division of United Technologies Corp. received orders from Northwest for $70 million worth of JT9D-7R4G2′s to power 747-200s.
″It’s been pretty busy. It gets us up to over $550 million in just the last three months,″ Giaramita said.
While last year’s commercial engine orders worldwide were less than half of the 1,600 level of 1979, ″Pratt has been saying for some time that they expect the industry to recover,″ he said.
New business for commercial engines and spares is expected to reach $70.9 billion over the next decade, and ″if those projections come true ... it could have an impact on employment. We’ll hire as many people as it takes to get the job done,″ said Giaramita.
Pratt & Whitney and other engine makers could lose some military business if congressional deficit reduction efforts reduce the number of military aircraft Congress allows the Pentagon to buy.
″We like to keep the shop loaded with both kinds of business,″ Weber said.
Said Giaramita, ″While these first couple of orders are significant, we still haven’t reached the level of orders of the ’70s. A lot of this business is trends. If we continue to see more of these kinds of purchases over the next few years, that is something that could affect employment.″
Each of Pratt & Whitney’s four Connecticut plants - in Southington, North Haven, Middletown and East Hartford - makes some parts for all its commercial engines. Statewide, manufacturing employment is about 19,600 while 6,400 employees work in management, administration, support, engineering, sales and marketing, Giaramita said.
Bolstering the company’s projections is an anticipated need for airlines to buy substantial amounts of new equipment in the late 1980s.
Giaramita said many current engines have been in service 15 or 20 years, and airlines will need more efficient and quieter engines if they are to compete economically and comply with noise regulations.
Congressional hearings are due to get under way in December on new noise level regulations.
Pratt & Whitney’s parent, Hartford-based United Technologies Corp., is the biggest industrial employer in the six-state New England region.
GE, headquartered in Fairfield, builds propeller and jet engines in Evendale, outside Cincinnati, and in Lynn, Mass., near Boston.