Engine Alliance claims lead over Trent 900

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Engine Alliance is confident it can maintain or extend the 1% fuel burn advantage it claims for its GP7200 on the Airbus A380 over the rival Rolls-Royce Trent 900 through systematic upgrades over the coming years.

The General Electric/Pratt & Whitney joint venture's president Jim Moravecek says the engine's performance slightly bettered even the company's own in-house expectations, extending its advantage over the current Trent 900 that powers the A380s on Qantas and Singapore Airlines.

"What surprised us was that we were six-tenths better on thrust specific fuel consumption, which equates to a 1% advantage over the Trent," says Moravecek

"In reality, Rolls is coming in behind on every sales campaign."

Moravececk says he understands that there are possibly plans for R-R to introduce a performance improvement package for the Trent in the 2012 timeframe, but EA is ready to counter this. "With product improvements we'll get 1-2% improvements over the next few years."

During the show the engine-maker moved into a market share lead over its rival (in terms of aircraft units) when it was selected by Etihad and Air Austral to power the 10 and two A380s they have on order, respectively.

These deals take its orders (by installed engines) to 384 units, and Moravecek is confident the EA sales tally on the A380 will eventually quadruple to "1,500 engines".

He says that EA's view of the 20-year very large aircraft market is "an average of all the different forecasts - around 600-700 aircraft". This is about half that of the Airbus outlook, which forecasts deliveries of 1,283 very large passenger aircraft and 415 freighters. Boeing recently adjusted its very large airliner/freighter forecast down by 25%, from 980 units to 740.