CFM International aims to begin open-rotor model testing this year and expects to have a clear indication on whether to proceed with this technology by 2009-10.
The engine manufacturer is working on two projects under its LEAP56 initiative, comprising either an advanced version of conventional engine architecture or open-rotor technology.
While the conventional project has the potential to deliver reduced noise and emissions, and a 15% improvement in specific fuel consumption, the more problematic open-rotor technology could offer SFC gains in the region of 25%.
Speaking during a media briefing at EasyJet's Luton, UK headquarters, chief executive Eric Bachelet said: "We plan to have a conventional type of engine ready by 2015 or early 2016. For the open rotor we think it might be a little longer. We have the technology at hand to demonstrate the feasibility of the open rotor and we will probably be in a position to make a choice between those two routes around 2010."
CFM will use a model of the open-rotor design to begin windtunnel and acoustic testing this year. Bachelet says that the trials, which will be staged in Europe and the USA, will study the problematic elements of the open-rotor concept, such as noise.
- EasyJet's open rotor concept