Raytheon Technologies Corporation (RTX), the parent entity of trouble-plagued engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney, disclosed in its second quarter results, released on July 25, that "a rare condition in powder metal used to manufacture certain engine parts" will require accelerated fleet inspection, impacting some 600 aircraft.

The problem affects PW1100G-JMs, better known as the GTF (geared turbofan) engine, manufactured between 2015 and 2020 for fitting to A320-200neo. It is understood approximately 1,200 engines will need to be removed from aircraft and inspected for micro-cracks potentially pointing to fatigue. RTX said recently discovered amounts of contamination were present in the metal used in the engine's high-pressure turbine discs.

"As a result, the business anticipates that a significant portion of the PW1100G-JM engine fleet, which powers the A320N, will require accelerated removals and inspections within the next nine to twelve months, including approximately 200 accelerated removals by mid-September of this year," the statement said. Engines on newly delivered aircraft are not impacted.

United States-based media outlets report Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and JetBlue Airways as affected, but note that the airlines will not know how disruptive the engine checks will be to their networks until it is established how long the fix takes. RTX CEO Greg Hayes told the Wall Street Journal that he was made aware of the issue on July 14. “If we didn’t address this, there was risk out there,” he said. “You can imagine what the calls were like.” He also said early indications suggested that individual aircraft may be out of service for up to 60 days.

Airbus has approximately 6,700 A320neo on order, with delivery timelines running over many years. Reportedly, Pratt and Whitney GTF engines have been fitted to 45% of all A320neo manufactured since 2017, competing against the LEAP engine manufactured by CFM International. Hayes rejected the notion that the ongoing problems with their GTF engines are sending undecided engine customers to the competition, saying the "smart money" would stick with his company. He added that Pratt & Whitney would increase capacity at its 13 maintenance facilities worldwide and set aside engines currently coming off production line to use as spares in a bid to work through the inspections as quickly as possible.