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Air Canada Chooses Pratt & Whitney to Power Its Airbus A321XLRs

May 12,2022

Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has announced that it will be the turbofan provider of choice for Air Canada's order of Airbus A321XLR aircraft. The Canadian flag carrier has a rich history of using the company's engines, which dates back to the arrival of its first aircraft. Let's take a closer look at what this means.

An important decision

Pratt & Whitney revealed this morning that Air Canada had chosen it to provide engines for its incoming Airbus A321XLR order. The decision affirms the strong relationship that the Canadian flag carrier has with the manufacturer, and is reflective of a wider trend when it comes to engine selection at the airline.

After all, as Pratt & Whitney proudly declared in today's statement, it has been providing Air Canada with engines since the arrival of its first aircraft, a P&W Wasp-equipped Lockheed Model 10 Electra. The company also has a close connection to the country of Canada as a whole, with a division based in Longueuil, Quebec. Air Canada's Senior VP of Operations and Express Carriers, Richard Steer, stated:

"Air Canada is pleased to be partnering with Pratt & Whitney by selecting GTF engines for our new  fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft. The GTF's efficiency and reliability will help us lower costs and also allow us to expand our network. As well, the GTF's state-of-the-art technology will advance our  environmental program by reducing emissions and noise."

Pratt & Whitney's Geared Turbofan (GTF) engines are common among modern narrowbodies. Photo: Rafael Luiz Canossa via Wikimedia Commons

A closer look at the order and engine choice
As explained by Pratt & Whitney in today's statement, Air Canada's order for the A321XLR consists of "30 firm and 14 purchase right" aircraft. Last month, Simple Flying took a closer look at where the airline might fly these extra-long-range twinjets. The first is expected to arrive in just under two years, in Q1 of 2024.

As well as the A320neo family to which the A321XLR belongs, you can also find Pratt & Whitney PW1000G (also known as the Geared Turbofan/GTF) engines on the likes of the A220 and Embraer's new E2 jets. In this instance, Air Canada's alternative engine choice would have been the CFM International LEAP-1A model. Pratt & Whitney's Chief Commercial Officer, Rick Deurloo, stated that:

"The Pratt & Whitney GTF family of engines has saved operators more than 600 million gallons of fuel and helped avoid six million metric tons of carbon emissions since it entered service in 2016. What's good for the environment is also good for business, and marquee operators such as Air Canada will continue to serve their customers with the most efficient engines on offer today."

Air Canada also uses P&W engines on its Airbus A220s. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying.

A big day for Air Canada
As it happens, today has also seen a second important announcement concerning Air Canada, namely the publication of its first-quarter financial results. It has been a mixed start to 2022, with President and CEO Micheal Rousseau noting "the year began with weakness brought on by the Omicron variant and travel restrictions. However, we quickly rebounded in March."

The airline believes that this indicates it will fare better in the coming months. In terms of the key figures, Air Canada registered first-quarter operating revenues of $2.573 billion, and an operating loss of $550 million. Both of these figures represent significant improvements compared to the same period last year.

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