IAE fights back in A320 power duel

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International Aero Engines expects to reverse its decline in market share on the Airbus A320 family this year as record production starts to bring it back on terms with rival CFM International.

The engine consortium, in which Pratt & Whitney and ­Rolls-Royce are the lead partners, has the A319, A320 and A321 as the only ­applications for its V2500 turbofan. It has seen several years of market share ­decline in terms of deliveries after being in parity with CFM in the middle part of the last decade.

In 2009, the engine maker powered just 39% of the A320-family aircraft deliveries, its lowest market share this century. "We view 2009 as just a temporary dip," says IAE vice-president of sales and marketing David Viar. "This year we'll be back in the mid-40s and we expect to be back at 50% in the next two or three years."

Viar says his confidence in the turnaround is backed up by two points: that IAE has a much larger share of the firm backlog than its rival, and that the company has "been doing very well in recent campaigns".

IAE has doubled its output in the past five years and will build a record number of V2500s in 2010, with production expected to rise 5% on the 2009 total.

The "dip" in market share since 2005 was "a consequence of the delivery compression of the CFM orders from the likes of GECAS and EasyJet", says Viar. "They've already exhausted a part of their wins, and that's why our forward backlog is larger than theirs."

Viar says that the vast amount of delivery slot swaps in 2009 also caused IAE's share to ­decline last year, but they are also why its share will "increase so quickly this year, because our ­customers are now advancing ­orders".

IAE's firm backlog stands at around 1,000 aircraft. Viar adds that "around 50% of new campaigns have come our way over the last three years, 60% in the last 12 months".

Data from Flightglobal's ACAS database show that more than 500 of the 2,380 Airbus single-aisles on firm backlog are yet to have engines selected.

Among the engine competitions expected to be concluded in 2010 are five Chinese airlines with around 120 A320s on order, says Viar: "This is a region in which IAE has done very, very well. In the past three years we've won over 70% of selections in China on Airbus single-aisle, including some that flew only CFM-power on their A320s like China Eastern, Hainan and Shenzhen."

As the debate rages on about IAE's role in any re-engining of the A320 with P&W's geared turbofan, Viar says that the engine-maker is looking at various technology improvements for the current V2500 beyond the 'SelectOne' upgrade introduced 18 months ago. "You may hear more about that later this year," Viar says.