Air Transport World

Engine tectonics.

Farnborough '98 may be viewed in the future the point when the major turbine engine market took a decided course change.

The most important event was Airbus Industrie's selection of Pratt & Whitney's completely new PW6000 to power its new 107-seat A318, a development that not only gave the new power plant an application but also cleared the way for further development of the PW8000.

The deal to put the new engine on the A318, hammered out at the highest levels of both firms, includes an Airbus agreement to test fly the PW8000 gearedfan growth version of the PW6000 core on an A320 in 2003, potentially leading to first deliveries of PW8000-powered A320s in 2005.

The A318 will serve as the launching pad for Pratt's re-entry into the market segment it had dominated with the JT8D. The current Pratt move likely will affect CFMI, Rolls-Royce, IAE and even BMW Rolls-Royce.

The other course change is GE Aircraft Engines' re-engaging in the very-high-thrust market. After at least 18 months of backing away from discussing plans or intentions to grow its GE9O-and, in fact, giving the impression that its large engine was out of growth potential-GE, under new President Jim McNerney, is stepping up to the challenge of Rolls-Royce and Pratt.

GEAE officials say technologies are in hand for a thrust bump to 93,000 lb. by late 1999, and numerous other technologies are under development to push the power plant to as much as 115,000 lb. of thrust.

However, the problem GEAE has in proceeding-and the others, as well- is waiting for Boeing to finally define the eventual growth goal. …

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