Pratt & Whitney Canada - Capturing New and Expanding Markets
Nicolas Chabée, Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Helicopter Engines, Pratt & Whitney Canada
What have been the most significant developments that have affected your business in 2018?
The past year has been an eventful one for the helicopter engine industry. We saw a number of trends coalescing to create a business environment that has a sharp focus on productivity, finding new ways to keep costs at a minimum and developing new solutions that deliver efficiency and increase operator competitiveness. For example, we were gratified to witness a gradual recovery in oil and gas, a sector that is vital to the industry. Going forward, we expect that the sector will maintain a reduced cost structure.
In the utility sector, we saw increased use of helicopters for missions such as wind farm inspections, but realize that costs will be a key factor in determining mission sustainability.
Lessors are also facing challenges, and many are seeking to repurpose existing aircraft. Our objective this year has been to bring new mutually beneficial solutions aimed at enhancing the value of our customers’ engines over their life cycle and become a partner with our customers’ businesses.
Acting on these and related trends, Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) introduced a suite of six new services at HAI HELI-EXPO:
• Certified pre-owned engine program for three of our most popular helicopter engines
• Small fleet pay-per-hour maintenance program
• ESP™ Platinum coverage for PW200 engines that includes environmental repair at overhaul
• Enhanced line replaceable unit availability program
• Tailored customer service programs for the defense and security sector
• Mission-ready services for heads of state
What rotorcraft industry trends do you foresee having a significant impact on your business focus in 2019?
China is forecast to be the largest potential market for new helicopter sales, followed by North America and Europe.
Pratt & Whitney has a long history in China with a substantial footprint there dating back to 1929. P&WC specifically has some 2,100 engines flying in China encompassing turboprops, turboshafts, turbofans and auxiliary power units. At the China Airshow in November, both Loong Air and China Eastern Airlines announced the selection of the P&WC APS3200 APU for their new Airbus A320 fleets.
We are working with our OEMs to help expand the helicopter market in China where we are seeing a growing demand for emergency medical services.
We are working with our OEMs to help expand the helicopter market in China where we are seeing a growing demand for emergency medical services (EMS) helicopters. A high level of demand comes from Kingwing, China’s largest EMS provider and its third largest helicopter operator overall. Notably, Kingwing has taken delivery of a number of AW139 helicopters (PT6C-67C engines) in recent months.
Business Segment – Defense and Security
There will be considerable activity over the next few years in terms of defense and security, a sector in which Pratt & Whitney has extensive experience and a long-standing relationship with the U.S. military. For example, 52 percent of military helicopters in operation around the world are 20 or more years old, meaning large-scale replacement programs will be undertaken. Governments (including their militaries) are more and more predisposed to using off-the-shelf commercial platforms for price stability and proven, widely dispersed customer service capabilities.
In September of this year, the U.S. Air Force selected the Boeing MH-139 helicopter (a derivative of Leonardo’s AW139) to replace its fleet of UH-1N “Huey” multi-role helicopters. The contract is for 84 aircraft and is valued at $2.4 billion. As with the AW139, the MH-139 is powered by two PT6C-67C engines.
In early 2019, the U.S. Navy will go to tender on its Advanced Helicopter Training System (AHTS). This will ultimately entail the purchase of more than 100 helicopters. We will work with our OEMs to define attractive solutions for the U.S. Navy for the platforms powered by our engines.
Closer to home is the Government of Canada’s Future Aircrew Training (FAcT) Program, which we consider strategic since we are one of the country’s major aerospace manufacturers.
In 2019, P&WC will continue to explore new product technologies to power the rotorcraft that will serve the emerging urban mobility market and the future of vertical flight in general. For the former, P&WC is part of the 19-member consortium working on the Future Advanced Rotorcraft Engine (FARE) program that is being supported by the Canadian Government and led by Bell. For the latter, Leonardo expects certification of its AW609 tiltrotor helicopter in 2019 and we will work closely with the company to ensure smooth entry into service of the PT6C-67A engines that power the aircraft. Certified in 2017, the PT6C-67A engine is certified for both vertical and horizontal operartion.
What lessons learned from 2018 will you apply toward achieving those goals for your operations in 2019?
We will continue to invest in the development of products and services previously outlined that provide value to our operators and help them improve competitiveness while providing new commercial opportunities for P&WC.
We are also experiencing significant demand for a number of our existing services. Our suite of tailored services designed for mature engines — known as P&WCSMART — have proven popular with our operators as effective solutions to keep their aircraft flying longer at economical costs. The same is true for our diagnostic and prognostic engine solution FAST™, which is certified for the AW139 helicopter. The gathered data greatly assists in planning aircraft maintenance and ensures helicopter availability.
Next year will also see further commercial rollout of our innovative oil analysis technology. Developed by P&WC, this technology is 100 times more accurate than other oil analysis technologies on the market and can diagnose engine issues long before they affect the operator.
As we previously announced, we are continuing our work on a new 2,000-shaft-horsepower engine demonstrator that will power both turboprop aircraft and helicopters. We believe that such an engine could address requirements in the super-medium class of helicopters, which is where we believe the industry is heading.