First MTU module for A320neo EIS assembled

First MTU module for A320neo EIS assembled

If everything goes according to schedule, Airbus is planning on having a big celebration at its Hamburg plant before the year is out. In the aviation industry with its long product cycles, occasions warranting a big party are rare. The reason to celebrate this time is the official handover of the first aircraft of a new type – the A320neo – to the customer.

The first A320neo jets will be powered by the PW1100G-JM, one of two engine options for airlines to select from when ordering their aircraft. In the PW1100G-JM program, MTU Aero Engines is responsible for the high-speed low-pressure turbine and the forward four stages of the high-pressure compressor. In addition, the German engine company produces brush seals and nickel blisks (also called integrally bladed rotors, IBRs) for high-pressure compressor components that are not part of MTU’s work share.

In late March, Airbus in Toulouse began flight testing of the second test aircraft equipped with Pratt & Whitney engines. By the middle of the year, the first two engines to be delivered to the customer will be sent to the manufacturer. As far as its participation in the program is concerned, MTU has just completed a decisive step towards meeting its commitments: Assembly of the first low-pressure tur-bine for EIS (Entry into Service) has been completed.

The employees are immensely proud of this production milestone. MTU is currently the only manufacturer of low-pressure turbines that concurrently assembles the individual modules for the PW1000G family at two different facilities: in Munich, Germany, and in Rzeszów, Poland. Once complete, the modules are sent to Pratt & Whitney, MTU’s partner in the program, where final assembly takes place.

As far as the PW1000G engines for the A320neo are concerned, this process will soon change. MTU’s stake in this program is 18 percent and includes the final assembly of PW1100G-JM engines at MTU in Munich. Production assembly will be gradually ramped up starting in the spring of 2016. Once the assembly line is working at full capacity, the shop floor in Munich will assemble, test, package and deliver an engine a day from 2018 on.

While it can be expected that delivery of the first A320neo will indeed cause a bit of a stir, things will soon be back to normal again at the Airbus facilities in Hamburg and Toulouse. The airframer’s order book for the revamped, reengined versions of the Airbus A320 single-aisle aircraft family launched in 2010, which also includes the shortened A319neo and the stretched A321neo variants, stands at  3,300 firm orders. Moreover, customers have taken out options for 600 of the jets.

Photos: Airbus S.A.S. 2014 / H. Gousse / F. Lancelot