US Airways would consider existing deliveries in re-engine evaluations

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As Airbus and Boeing move closer to definitive decisions about re-engining their respective narrowbody models, US Airways says it would need to examine its existing delivery stream if Airbus opts to offer a re-engined model.

Re-engining began gaining momentum earlier this year and reached a crescendo after Bombardier won an order from Frontier's parent Republic Airways Holdings for 40 CSeries 138-seat CS300s to replace Frontier's Airbus narrowbodies.

Reiterating previous comments he made recently US Airways president Scott Kirby during the carrier's annual media day on 28 April said the airline was agnostic with respect to a clean sheet narrowbody design or a re-engined aircraft as long as the end product achieves the desired level of efficiency.

Flightglobal's ACAS fleet database shows that US Airways has 46 Airbus A320s and 10 A321s on order, and the majority of those aircraft are slated to be powered by International Aero Engines IAE V2500s.

Carrier CFO Derek Kerr in explaining how US Airways would approach a re-engining option says if Airbus definitively says it is embarking on re-engining, "we would want to get in a discussion and look at our delivery stream".

US Airways in November 2009 reached an agreement to defer 54 Airbus aircraft deliveries for three years, which includes a large number of narrowbodies.

Although ultimate performance of the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan remains an unknown, Kerr says that if the engine powering the CSeries delivers on its proposed cost targets, US Airways doesn't want to place itself ar a cost disadvantage. At the same time he jokes no carrier desires to be the launch customer for a new aircraft engine.

The carrier's Airbus narrowbody fleet already comprises aircraft featuring the V2500 engine and CFM International CFM56 variants.

The US Airways order shows it has the most negotiating leverage with IAE, and Airbus has said it prefers the consortium of Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, MTU and Japanese Aero Engine Corporation to offer a powerplant for a possible re-engined A320. But Pratt & Whitney has recently said it is ready to strike out on its own to offer the geared turbofan as an re-engining option if the IAE partners fail to agree on a unified re-engining product.

Kerr says no one has approached US Airways to say, "Hey we are going to do this [re-engine]".

Airbus has previously said it aims to decide on a re-engined A320 launch by the Farnborough air show in July.