General Electric Aviation has revealed that it has been contracted to supply aircraft parts from its Vandalia site. The contract worth $11.7 million is with the Philadelphia-based Defense Logistics Agency Aviation. GE’s Vandalia office specializes in making electric power generators both for civilian and military aircraft.
While the Vandalia office of GE Aviation employs 350 people, the General Electric unit employs 44,600 people worldwide. In the United States alone the unit employs 25,000 people and currently its industrial backlog has reached more than $150 billion.
GE Aviation stands to gain from delays being experienced with the rollout of a new aircraft engine by Pratt $ Whitney. This is because buyers who had been expecting the engine to be ready on time are now turning to a model manufactured by General Electric. So far several orders have been placed for the GE turbine which is suited for the Airbus SE, a narrow-body plane.
Pratt’s engine had been expected to help the parent company of the aircraft maker, United Technologies, reverse the dominance that General Electric has been enjoying in the market in the recent past. But the weak demand that the engine made by Pratt is experiencing has led to doubts over the future of the most important product in the aircraft maker’s portfolio.
“[The new engine has] had its share of teething problems and those have yet to be sorted out. And even if sorted out, it’s delaying a lot of aircraft deliveries,” said Robert Mann, an aviation consultant.
Though the new Pratt engine has been able to meet performance specifications with regards to fuel economy for instance, technical glitches have forced some airlines to ground their planes. This includes the largest carrier in India, IndiGo. Other airlines have had to take their aircraft out of service as they wait for fixes which are currently being rolled out by Pratt on the product that the firm has used $10 billion in development costs.
Pratt is also getting bad press over the performance issues of its engine. Approximately 46% of an Airbus model, the A320neo, have been out of service for a period of about seven days in the last one month. Only 9% of aircraft using General Electric’s engine, on the other hand, have been out of service in the same period. After the fixes, Pratt can still regain ground since there are over 1,500 A320neos that are yet to be picked by customers as well as other non-Airbus orders.