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Pratt & Whitney Predicts a Better Year for Air Travel
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Pratt & Whitney’s top executive says the airline industry will see a recovery this year. As WNPR’s Harriet Jones reports, the jet engine maker is hoping to improve its own results in 2010.

Pratt & Whitney
president David Hess says the number of passenger miles traveled on commercial aircraft is expected to be up 3% in 2010. That represents a modest increase after a disastrous 2009. Last year, airlines lost $9 billion – this year, they hope to cut that to a loss of $2 billion.

The health of the commercial airline industry is key to Pratt & Whitney’s fortunes – operating profits at the East Hartford-based company fell almost 14% last year. In 2010, the company is projecting a boost in profits of about $75 million. Of course the company is also highly dependent on military contracts, and Hess says he’s still actively lobbying congress to end funding of an alternative engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Pratt aims to be the sole engine provider on the project which could be worth $70 billion to the company. Hess defended the company’s plan to close two jet engine repair plants in Connecticut, with the loss of a thousand jobs – but he reaffirmed the company’s commitment to the state, saying – we’re going to be here a long time.

For WNPR, I'm Harriet Jones.