In 2007 the management of United Technologies (UTC) and its Pratt & Whitney division were ready to launch a new kind of large aircraft engine following years of research and testing. However, to get the GTF engine from its current state to a commercial product would require incremental investment in the billions of dollars. Pratt & Whitney believed strongly that it had developed a superior engine, one whose technology would shape the aircraft engine market going forward. However, given the large development costs and a steep production learning curve, Pratt & Whitney would have to sell several thousands of engines for this new engine to break even. Aware of the financial risks and competitive assaults that might follow, Pratt & Whitney nonetheless felt that without the GTF engine, the company would be in a no-growth position. This case, supported by an epilogue revealing that the engine proved to be a solid win for UTC, illustrates to students the complexity of the airline industry and the competitive dynamics that must be considered when launching capital intensive new technologies.
Case Study
Publication Date

Full Citation

. Pratt & Whitney and the Geared Turbofan: This Changes Everything. 
New York
, 2019.