his week, the Christchurch Engine Centre, a joint venture between Pratt & Whitney and Air New Zealand, celebrates its 20-year anniversary.
The Christchurch Engine Centre employs approximately 350 people and is one of the world’s best-in-class centers performing maintenance, repair and overhaul work for the V2500® engine. The V2500 engine is offered through IAE International Aero Engines AG, a multinational aero engine consortium whose shareholders comprise Pratt & Whitney, a unit of Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE:RTX), Pratt & Whitney Aero Engines International GmbH, Japanese Aero Engines Corporation and MTU Aero Engines. It is the engine of choice for the efficient operation of A320ceo passenger and cargo airlines around the world, including Air New Zealand. The engine has powered more than 60 million flights, accumulating more than 240 million engine flight hours. Narrowbody aircraft powered by V2500 and Pratt & Whitney GTF™ engines are leading the recovery in passenger services in the Asia Pacific region thanks to the engines’ lower fuel burn and lower trip costs.
Employees celebrated the milestone with an afternoon tea that opened with appreciation remarks from Graham Jack, general manager at Christchurch Engine Centre.
“We operate in a very competitive global marketplace, but thanks to the integrity, hard work and quality of service delivered by our employees, past and present, we’re able to put Christchurch on the map and attract business from all over the world,” said Jack. “I’ve been with this company for 25 years and still look forward to coming to work and working alongside some incredibly talented people.”
Jack acknowledged the difficulties facing the aviation sector but believes a corner has been turned and better days are ahead.
“2020 was a difficult year. It has not been easy for anyone. We continue to experience reduced commercial business as a result of this global pandemic, but things seem to be improving: The travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia is now established, and our customers are slowly returning to the skies. There’s still a long way to go but thanks to our amazing people, excellent customer relationships, the strength of the partnership between Pratt & Whitney and Air New Zealand, and most importantly the quality of our work, we will ensure we continue to go beyond for many years to come.”
Also sharing a message of thanks via video was Air New Zealand CEO, Greg Foran. Air New Zealand’s association with the Christchurch Engine Centre dates back to 1953, when as National Airways Corporation it transferred its maintenance and engineering division from Palmerston North to the city.
“Air New Zealand has enjoyed a long history with Pratt & Whitney. Their engines have supported our airline fleet from our early years to our current V2500-powered A320 fleet today,” Foran said.
“The joint venture has enjoyed many successful developments to make it the world-class business it is today. Most of all, I want to recognize the efforts of staff and management over the past 20 years who have contributed to make this joint venture so successful. Air New Zealand looks forward to working with Pratt & Whitney to continue to develop this business.”
Since 2005, Christchurch Engine Centre has overhauled 1,000 V2500 engines. Pratt & Whitney’s association with Christchurch goes back to 1948 when the company’s radial R1830, R1340 and R985 engines were serviced at the Harewood site.
Geoff Winter, a quality assurance systems and audit engineer, has worked at the facility for more than 20 years and was on-site when the joint venture came into effect.
“I’ve been in my current role 14 years now and with the company longer than that. I’ve had so many opportunities come my way, which keeps things challenging and fresh,” Winter said.
“It’s been fantastic to see the company grow, see it develop and diversify. The best thing about it though is the local team, there’s a lot of great people who work here. All with ideas, innovations and challenges that change your thinking and lead us to continuously innovate. I’m very proud of the work we do here in Christchurch. Long may it continue.”
Joseph Sylvestro, vice president of Global Aftermarket Operations at Pratt & Whitney, echoed these sentiments with a recorded message for employees.
“Your dedication, hard work and drive to support our customers has propelled Christchurch to become one of the world’s top engine overhaul centers. We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts and offer congratulations on your 20 years of continued success and world-class customer service,” Sylvestro said.
“At Pratt & Whitney, our culture prioritizes continuous learning, personal growth, diversity and exploration, and you help to consistently demonstrate these traits. Thank you for all that you do.”