A titanic battle appears to be shaping up in the 10,000-pound thrust segment of the aero engine market, where there is a need for powerplants to drive the coming super-midsize and large business jets, as well as smaller regional airliners.
Rolls-Royce Trent 900
Airbus last month unveiled its first complete A380 double-decker, making the European consortium the builder of the world’s biggest passenger airplane. In the high-profile January 18 ceremony at the Toulouse final assembly facility in Southern France, the European manufacturer unveiled to 5,000 guests, among them four heads of state, F-WWOW, which will be the first of the 555-seaters to fly.
The mammoth A380 made a triumphal arrival on the Paris Air Show’s center stage here yesterday morning. Airbus’ long-awaited double-decker airliner drew exhibitor set-up staff from the halls and chalets to marvel as it gracefully (and almost silently) appeared on the Le Bourget horizon.
The Doncasters Group, headquartered in Melbourne, UK, recently signed its largest single contract in its 226-year history to produce turbo-machinery for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner auxiliary power unit (AP5000). The alliance with Hamilton Sundstrand Power Systems of San Diego, California, has potential revenues of $300 million for Doncasters, which employs some 4,300 people at more than 20 sites in Europe, the U.S. and Mexico.
Korean Air has ordered $300 million worth of GP7200s from the Engine Alliance to power its Airbus A380s. The carrier has ordered 23 engines for the five A380s it has on firm order and will take another 13, worth a further $170 million, if it exercises its options for three more. The new order gives the GE Transportation–Aircraft Engines/Pratt & Whitney joint venture a 58-percent share on the A380s for which engines have been specified.
Orders for as many as 250 new General Electric (GE) GEnx engines are expected here at the Paris Air Show this week as the Boeing 787 program gathers pace after last year’s hesitant start. Announcements will come as Boeing prepares for the launch of the stretched 747 Advanced (for which it predicts a market for up to 300), and Airbus launches its A350 variant of the A330–both programs representing applications of the new engine.
Less than 50 days after the A380’s first flight, Airbus has reported an essentially satisfactory start to the very large jetliner’s test program. Preliminary results include “excellent” comfort up to the M 0.89 maximum operating Mach number, with cruise performance said to be “on target,” a spokesman said.
The General Electric/Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance partnership was last month awarded certification of the GP7200 by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is now preparing for its first flight powering the giant Airbus A380 airliner.
Goodrich Corp. has made its presence known in a big way here at Asian Aerospace as a major subassembly supplier on the show’s most conspicuous display aircraft. Appearing for the first time on an Airbus aircraft, the Goodrich main body and wing landing gear attached to the mammoth A380 account for just one facet of the company’s participation in the project.
After celebrating a bumper year in 2005, Rolls-Royce is pushing ahead with a huge program of reorganization to capitalize on its increasingly strong global position and secure its long-term stability.