Air Transport World

When every fraction counts: Engine Alliance and Rolls-Royce battle to win future A380 engine business.(Engines)(GE-P and W Engine Alliance L.L.C.)

ALTHOUGH IT MAY NOT BE QUITE IN the "my kingdom for a nail" category, Engine Alliance and Rolls-Royce are emphasizing gains of fractions of percentage points in the battle for uncommitted A380 orders. And when engine and aircraft deals are won and lost on those fractions, any advantage can be a winner.

That is the message from Engine Alliance, the joint venture between GE Aircraft Engines and Pratt & Whitney, which has delivered more than 100 GP7200 Series engines for the A380. EA President Mary Ellen Jones tells ATW, "The GP7200 has met or exceeded our customers' expectations and Airbus recently revised the performance handbook, or Orange Book, to reflect a 0.5% SFC improvement for the GP7200-powered aircraft." The improvement was measured from flight test aircraft MSN009 and first production aircraft MSN011 and EA believes further gains can be expected in later models.

The Orange Book is used frequently by prospective purchasers as a predictor of aircraft performance. "We believe this demonstrates an advantage of approximately 1.5% versus the competition," Jones says, adding that after nearly two years in revenue service, the engine's dispatch reliability rating is "99.9%."

There are two variants, the GP7270 rated at 70,000 lb. and the GP7270E rated at 77,000 lb. The engine has a bypass ratio of 8.7 and can be certified beyond 81,500 lb. with a little additional work, as most of the certification was done at the higher thrust for the proposed freighter version.

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Rolls dismisses the EA claim that the GP7200 has a 1.5% fuel burn advantage. "Only Airbus has the precise data and the company does not share that with anyone," says Head of Marketing-Airbus Programs Richard Keen. …

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