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May 6, 2011
Grand Opening of Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Mirabel Aerospace Center, Remarks of United Technologies Chairman & CEO Louis Chênevert, Mirabel, Canada – As Prepared
As many of you know, my first job at United Technologies was with Pratt & Whitney Canada, so it’s always great to be back. And it’s always great to have the opportunity to celebrate important milestones with the Pratt & Whitney team here in Quebec. Let me start this morning by adding my welcome to our special guests from the Quebec government.
Premier Charest, I want to personally thank you for your support and vision. The partnership between Pratt & Whitney and the Quebec government was truly critical to making this facility a reality.
I’d also like to add my own welcome to our customers from Bombardier Aerospace. We understand that our future depends on how well we serve you and all of our customers. We are grateful for the confidence you have shown in us by selecting the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engine to power the Bombardier CSeries. And we are committed to supporting a flawless entry into service for the CSeries and this state-of-the-art facility demonstrates that commitment.
John Saabas, President of Pratt & Whitney Canada, spoke about the world-class capabilities of this wonderful new facility. So, I’d like to spend a few minutes talking about the power of innovation and how technology continues to change the world in truly profound ways – sometimes at a very rapid pace – which makes Pratt & Whitney’s and UTC’s commitment to innovation so important.
Throughout the history of aviation, there have been a number of incredible milestones. In fact, I was reminded that today is the anniversary of an important event in aviation history.
On the afternoon of May 6, 1896, an aircraft known as Aerodrome 5 was launched from a houseboat on the Potomac River near Washington, D.C. by an aviation pioneer named Samuel Langley. Weighing just 25 pounds, this unpiloted aircraft was developed to demonstrate that a heavier-than-air, engine-driven aircraft could sustain flight.
Of course, the Aerodrome 5 didn’t have a Pratt & Whitney engine. Rather, it was propelled by a spring-loaded catapult, and a one-horsepower steam engine, and it covered a distance of just over 1,000 meters. Looking back, the Aerodrome 5 seems primitive. But it was a major leap forward.
But, of course, the innovation remembered best occurred a few years later, when the Wright Brothers took this technology to the next level. Their engine-driven plane, Flyer 1, successfully flew with a pilot – changing aviation forever.
Historians note that the Wright Brothers had invested four years in research and experimentation with gliders and kites in order to master the art of controlling their piloted aircraft, which proved to be a key advantage.
Since the days of the Wright Brothers, we’ve seen many new aviation milestones and achievements – including the technology found in the engines that will be assembled in this facility – the PW800 and the Pratt & Whitney Geared Turbofan engines, which are quieter, more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly.
And the success of these engines reflects the hard work and dedication of the Pratt & Whitney team, as well as United Technologies’ strategy to invest in technology and innovation in anticipation of future customer needs.
More than a decade ago, we set out to develop this revolutionary new jet engine, one that would deliver unmatched fuel efficiency with significant reductions in noise, emissions and operating costs. Despite pressures from two global economic downturns, we continued to invest in this technology, believing it would redefine the marketplace. And today we’re very encouraged by the results.
The Geared Turbofan engine is, without question, a game changer. It’s an engine that achieves 20 percent reduction in fuel burn when installed on a next generation aircraft like the Bombardier CSeries.
It also achieves up to 50 percent reduction in NOx emissions, and up to a 50 percent reduction in engine noise. No other engine on the market can do what the Geared Turbofan can do, and we’re proud that this engine will power the CSeries.
The CSeries is an amazing aircraft. With its advanced flight deck and enhancements to passenger comfort, we understand why Bombardier considers it not just a new series of aircraft, but a “new species of aircraft” – and I’m thrilled that it will be powered by a new breed of Pratt & Whitney engine.
While today we are focusing on the Geared Turbofan engine, this world-class facility will also assemble the PW800 engine family, currently being developed for the next generation of large-cabin, long-range business jets.
The same way that the Geared Turbofan is changing the game for commercial aircraft, the PW800 will change the game for the corporate jet market, by delivering double-digit improvements in fuel burn, emissions, engine noise and operating costs.
United Technologies is fully committed to the PW800, and we are confident this revolutionary engine is well positioned to capture future opportunities in the large corporate jet market. Simply put, this engine raises the bar on engine performance, and will play a key role in Pratt & Whitney’s future success.
Of course, having the best technology in the Geared Turbofan and PW800 is important, but it is not enough to ensure Pratt & Whitney’s future success. Our future success will also depend on the dedication, expertise and tremendous capabilities of the hundreds of employees who will work in this world-class facility.
I thank those of you who have contributed to the opening of the Mirabel Aerospace Centre, and I encourage you to continue the proud history of Pratt & Whitney Canada as engines start to roll through the assembly line.
Pratt & Whitney has a long and proud history in Canada, which I’ve had the opportunity to witness first hand during my early days at United Technologies. Growing from a repair and overhaul company founded back in 1928, today’s Pratt Canada is a global aerospace leader, having produced more than 74,000 engines. One of its biggest success stories is, of course, the PT6.
You might say the PT6 was the "GTF" of its day when it was developed back in the 1960s. The engine's unique design enabled it to become the most popular turboprop engine ever developed. We’ve produced more than 45,000 PT6 engines, for more than 130 aircraft types, and the PT6 continues to win competitions thanks to the sustained investment of Pratt & Whitney Canada in new technologies.
Since its introduction, the power of the PT6 has more than quadrupled, with essentially the same engine barrel dimension. Today’s engine is 20 percent more fuel efficient with a 40 percent better power-to-weight ratio.
And with rising fuel prices and growing environmental concerns, we see a strong market for turboprop aircraft into the future, and we continue to invest in technologies to ensure we remain the turboprop leader.
And, of course, thanks to the people in this room, and our continued investments in technology, we expect the GTF and the PW800 to experience the same long and successful history as the PT6. In closing, let me say that I have every confidence that the Pratt & Whitney team here today will continue to change the face of aviation history.
More than 115 years ago, it took a catapult to launch the first engine-powered planes into the sky – our industry has come a long way since May 6, 1896.
And, very soon, thanks to the work now underway right here, the world of aviation will be transformed once again – as quieter, cleaner and more efficient engines enter into service from Mirabel, marking the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for aviation and Pratt & Whitney.
I would like to, once again, recognize our longstanding partnership with Quebec and the Canadian government who have shared our vision to build a strong and prosperous aerospace industry in Canada.
Today, the Canadian aerospace industry is recognized around the world for its expertise and technical capability. Over 80,000 people in Canada are employed by this industry, and in Montreal, one out of 100 jobs is related to the aerospace industry.
This is a great example of how the right investments in innovation not only lead to major technological improvements, but also bring significant economic growth for companies and economies around the world – including right here in Mirabel.
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