The GE Aviation /Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance, which builds the GP7200 powering the Airbus A380 flying at the show, is ready to offer a powerplant solution for the A350XWB, if Airbus and GE fail to reach agreement.
An International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) order for 50 Boeing 787s, plus conversion of two previously unannounced options (booked earlier this year along with a 777-300ER, for which ILFC was the launch customer) has brought total announced orders for the new twin-aisle twinjet to 634 from 45 customers since its launch in April 2004.
Airbus chief executive Louis Gallois declared yesterday that the European consortium “is back, fully back,” from an odyssey through one of the most trying two years in its history. Any such pronouncement made a day early would no doubt have elicited a hearty belly laugh or two within the Boeing chalet.
Airbus looked intent on making up for two years of persistent hits to its credibility virtually all at once yesterday with a nearly uninterrupted string of sales, order “commitments” and MoU announcements, led by firm orders for 80 A350 XWBs from Qatar Airways and 60 A320s from GE Commercial Aviation Service.
Rolls-Royce is celebrating its biggest ever civil engines order, a $5.6 billion deal for Trent XWBs to power Qatar Airways’ 80 Airbus A350 XWBs, and it is set to announce even more orders for the engine during the show.
US Airways has also committed to the engine for its 22 A350s in a $1.8 million deal. Both contracts include Rolls-Royce’s TotalCare long-term services agreement.
Rolls-Royce has secured another airline for its growing list of TotalCare maintenance contracts, this time with Thai Airways International in a deal covering its Trent 500 engines that power the carrier’s Airbus A340s. The 10-year agreement works on a dollar-fee-per-flying-hour basis. Rolls-Royce says that 80 percent of new Trent orders have included TotalCare deals.
Aircraft leasing company General Electric Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) has converted options held on six GE90-110B1L-powered Boeing 777F cargo aircraft, bringing its 777 fleet to 39, of which 15 have been delivered. The latest order, which can be changed to cover passenger variants, brings GECAS 777F orders to 14 and its total Boeing fleet to 378.
By all indications, the era of the “more electric” airplane suits Hamilton Sundstrand and its president, Dave Hess. Supplier of the entire primary power generation and virtually all of the power distribution on the Boeing 787 airliner, the Windsor Locks, Connecticut-based division of United Technologies (UTC) expects to generate $15 billion in revenue over the life of that one program.
In recent years, engine manufacturers have shifted their emphasis from straightforward production of engines to the far more lucrative business of after-sales support.
Rolls-Royce is no exception. In the last decade, its TotalCare engines business has expanded by a healthy 10 percent a year, creating a business that by the end of 2006 was worth $3.9 billion–more than half the company’s total civil engines business.
Boeing hasn’t yet worked out how to change between alternative 787 engines in the space of 24 hours. Designing an engine mount that enables engineering crews to swap alternative General Electric GEnx and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 powerplants in such a short time has proved “challenging,” the U.S. manufacturer concedes.