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Pratt & Whitney Says Orders for New Turbo-fan Engine May Double

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Oct. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Pratt & Whitney, building an engine for Airbus SAS’s A320neo, said orders for the new geared turbo-fan powerplant may double as airlines seek more fuel-efficient aircraft.

Orders for the engine could “easily” rise to 6,000 from 3,000, President David Hess said in an interview in Nagoya, Japan, on Oct. 9. He didn’t give a timeframe.

Pratt intends to eventually improve the engine’s fuel-efficiency by as much as 30 percent compared with today’s powerplants, he said. Demand for the A320neo and Boeing Co. 737 Max jets surged as carriers seek new planes to curb fuel costs that have jumped 43 percent in the past two years.

“We’ll keep increasing the efficiency of the engine by incremental improvements,” Hess said.

The company, a unit of United Technologies Corp., has won orders for variations of the new engine from Airbus, Bombardier Inc., Russia’s Irkut Corp. and Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp.

Mitsubishi Aircraft, a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., may be able to sell 1,500 passenger jets, President Hideo Egawa told reporters at an airshow in Nagoya this week. That compares with an initial target of 1,000 Mitsubishi Regional Jet sales over the lifetime of the program.

Pratt can make a profit on the turbo-fan engine with the current 3,000 orders, Hess said. The V2500 engine, which the company builds under IAE International Aero Engines AG with two other partners, has sold about 5,000 units, he said.

The A320neo has become the fastest-selling plane in aviation history as Airbus won more than 1,400 orders for the jet since it was introduced at the end of 2010. Boeing has more than 700 orders for its 737 Max.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chris Cooper in Tokyo at ccooper1@bloomberg.net; Kiyotaka Matsuda in Tokyo at kmatsuda@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net