Wizz Air's Confidence in Troubled Pratt & Whitney Engine Despite Glitches

Jozsef Varadi, the CEO and co-founder of Wizz Air, a leading European budget airline, has expressed his long-term confidence in the Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine developed by Pratt & Whitney, despite its current issues. The engine has been recalled twice due to production defects and has required more maintenance than anticipated, leading to grounded aircraft.


Wizz Air, based in Hungary, is the second-largest operator of the GTF engine. Varadi acknowledged the short-term uncertainties surrounding the engine but remained optimistic about its long-term prospects. Last month, Pratt & Whitney's parent company, RTX, announced that it would need to remove 600 to 700 GTF engines from Airbus A320neo jets for quality inspections over the next three years. This decision was made after a rare powder-metal defect was discovered that could lead to cracks.


Wizz Air is expecting a service bulletin from Pratt within 1-1.5 months that will provide details on the serial numbers of the affected engines. However, concerns remain about repair capacity and the availability of spare engines to keep planes in operation.

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Varadi revealed that three of Wizz Air's planes are currently grounded due to engine maintenance visits, which are taking an average of 270 days instead of the usual 60. He also mentioned that the latest combustor included in a configuration called Block D was not meeting expectations, particularly in harsh environments. While Varadi did not disclose the specifics of the penalties Wizz Air is receiving from Pratt & Whitney due to these issues, he did hint at significant compensation. Wizz Air anticipates a potential 10% capacity reduction in the second half of fiscal 2024 due to GTF inspections.

Pratt and Whitney have yet to comment on these developments.

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