PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) -- Jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney has received an order for 300 of its next-generation engines from Indian budget airline IndiGo, the company said Thursday.
David Hess, president of East Hartford, Conn.-based Pratt & Whitney, told reporters gathered in Florida for the company's media day that IndiGo's order reflected strong demand for its new engine, which has been in development for more than 20 years.
"The backlog keeps getting bigger," Hess said. "And we better start cranking up the test program and get these engines through development and into production and out to our customers."
Parent company United Technologies Corp. has spent $1 billion to develop the geared turbofan engine. It says the engine significantly improves fuel efficiency while reducing carbon emissions and noise.
IndiGo president Aditya Ghosh said in a news release that the engine would "allow us to make dramatic improvements in environmental performance with reduced emissions and significant savings in fuel consumption."
Pratt & Whitney hopes the new engine could increase its manufacturing volume to a level similar to that of the 1960s, when it produced the JT8D engine. The company is now the No. 3 jet engine maker, after General Electric Co. and Rolls Royce.
"This new engine and this application here is going to give us the ability to start to take back share in the large commercial engine business," Hess said.
Airbus said in December it would go with Pratt & Whitney's new engine. The company previously won engine orders for regional jets manufactured by Bombardier, Mitsubishi and Russian airline manufacturer IRKUT.