East Hartford-based Pratt & Whitney plans to invest up to $45 million at its existing West Palm Beach facility.

Published Monday, June 17, 2019

  • East Hartford jet-engine maker Pratt & Whitney is investing as much as $45 million over two years to convert its South Florida engine-build center to perform overhauls.

Announced Monday at the Paris Air Show, Pratt’s Florida disclosure comes a week after parent United Technologies Corp. (UTC) and aerospace-defense rival Raytheon Co. revealed plans to merge their operations and relocate the joined companies’ headquarters to Greater Boston.

The announcement also squelches persistent rumors that Pratt was planning a greater role for its South Florida operations.

Pratt’s Joe Sylvestro, vice president of aftermarket operations, said investment in converting the  West Palm Beach, Fla., facility from geared turbofan engine production to overhaul began in 2018 and ends in 2020. 

Once in customers’ hands, Pratt engines provide a lucrative source of ongoing revenue from the sale of spare and replacement parts, and engine-maintenance and engine-overhaul contracts.

Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) chastised the state for what he described as its latest economic-development lapse involving UTC. 

Fasano and other state leaders have criticized the governor and his predecessor administrations for not doing more to improve Connecticut’s skilled labor force to, among other things, help recruit and retain employers, particularly manufacturers.

“I fear this is another sign of a missed opportunity for Connecticut,” Fasano said in a statement. “UTC has made it clear that they believe their future is dependent on growth in other states. They are investing their capital in Massachusetts and Florida, and jobs follow where you put your capital. 

UTC subsidiaries have significantly grown their presence in South Florida since Pratt debuted there in the late 1950s.

The Farmington conglomerate’s newly expanded aerospace business -- Rockwell Collins Aerospace -- leased a penthouse office in West Palm Beach last year. UTC also quietly moved the headquarters of its previously Farmington-based Carrier building systems business to Palm Beach Gardens in April 2018.

Last week, UTC CEO and Chairman Gregory Hayes attempted to reaffirm Pratt’s commitment to its home state, informing Gov. Ned Lamont the company expects to hire 1,000 workers at its facilities in Connecticut over the coming years. 

The governor also said Farmington-based Otis Elevators will remain in state after UTC splits into three independent companies by the first half of 2020.

Hartford Business Journal

By Gregory Seay



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