(Recasts with engine order information, company comments)
EAST HARTFORD, Conn., May 20 (Reuters) - Pratt & Whitney, a unit of United Technologies Corp, has secured more than 5,500 orders for its closely watched geared turbofan engine for commercial jets, its top executive said on Tuesday.
The engine, which is helping revitalize the company’s business of providing engines to commercial jets, is one of the main factors behind a major increase in production at Pratt expected in the coming years.
“We have a lot of activity now lined up with the different airframers,” Pratt & Whitney President Paul Adams said during a media event in the company’s home base in East Hartford, Connecticut.
The geared turbofan is expected to be certified on Airbus’ A320neo, the jet maker’s new offering in the widely sold single-aisle category, in the second half of this year. Several regional jet makers also are using the geared turbofan to power their planes.
Pratt also builds the engine for the military’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jet, another key area of growth for the engine maker.
Asked about the U.S. government’s concerns about costs tied to the F-35 program, Adams said: “We continue to be absolutely laser-focused on cost reduction.”
Pratt also said on Tuesday that it had signed more than $10 billion in long-term agreements with more than 90 suppliers in the past year as it prepares for an increase in commercial and military production. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)