Get that motor running

Leasing giant International Lease Finance (ILFC) and some major airlines are making very clear their interest in a new, more efficient and economic narrowbody.

ILFC chief Steven Udvar-Hazy, in an interview with Flightblogger at the Singapore Airshow, said a 15% improvement is essential. “But that’s not only in fuel efficiency, it’s in economics,” he said. Executives at American Airlines and EasyJet are looking at even higher gains.

Speaking to Runway Girl, American executive VP of operations Bob Reding said that while the carrier can support near-term growth with additional Boeing 737-800s, it is hopeful of a breakthrough technology for an engine that will give a big leap in narrowbody efficiency. “We’re looking at an engine that can beat that from 12% to 30% but clearly 30% would really get our attention,” he said.

EasyJet, which favors open rotor technology, is looking for as much as a 50% improvement in narrowbody fuel efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions. Roughly 30% would be derived from the engines, 10% from a new airframe and 10% from air traffic management improvements. The 50% comes from targets outlined by the Advisory Council for Aeronautics Research in Europe (ACARE), although this organization is eyeing a 2020 timeline.

Just doing an update of currently-available engines, says EasyJet strategic planning manager Hal Calamvokis, would be “maybe 10% to 12%” better. “To a point the airframers are being driven by the engine manufacturers in that a large chuck of environmental improvement of the aircraft will be driven by the engine.” The carrier, which last year unveiled a new narrowbody concept, breaks out its agenda in the following slides: Download file


If engine manufacturers delay EIS of new-technology engines for a replacement narrowbody until 2018, it will “play into Pratt & Whitney’s hands perfectly”, says Calamvokis. Pratt’s geared turbofan has been selected for the proposed Bombardier CSeries and Mitsubishi Regional Jet.

Udvar-Hazy agrees. He told Flightblogger that the delay in developing a Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 replacement could create a “window of opportunity” for Bombardier to launch its CSeries aircraft. “They now have an engine platform with the [Pratt & Whitney] geared turbofan that appears to show double-digit specific fuel consumption improvement and efficiency improvement.Download file

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One Response to Get that motor running

  1. Dean February 24, 2008 at 9:23 pm #

    Something’s wrong with that open-rotor turbine plane’s configuration. Part of it doesn’t make aerodynamic sense. I doubt the rudder effectiveness.

    I prefer GTFs.