Engine Alliance believes that the GP7200 powerplants on Emirates’ newly-introduced Airbus A380 will confirm an operational fuel-burn improvement of 0.9% on the baseline target originally given to the airframer.
Emirates took delivery of the aircraft on 28 July and ferried the jet from Airbus’ Hamburg Finkenwerder plant to Dubai the following day.
Carrying 197 passengers and 28 crew on the sector, the aircraft had a take-off weight of 457t – of which 137t was fuel – and was projected to land at 383t, some 74t lighter.
Speaking to Flight's sister premium news source ATI on board the flight, former Engine Alliance president Bruce Hughes said: “We beat our promise to Airbus by about 1%. That’s in fuel burn, so some of that is due to installation on the airplane.
“It’s a lot to do with installation drag on the airplane. [Airbus] did a great job on the pylon and how they position the engine on the wing. Then, for the engine itself, we did a lot of component testing to get the component efficiencies to a really good level.”
Engine Alliance’s flight-test campaign closed on 30 April after 20 months and 274 flights, during which the powerplant accumulated 3,202 engine flight-hours.
But Hughes says: “We know that, when you go into service, you learn things. We have a fairly large team ready to support the engines as Emirates starts the service.”
Emirates is putting the A380 into operation on the New York JFK route tomorrow. The airline is taking 58 A380s and three more are to be delivered this year.
“For the first three or four months there’s a big focus on making sure the engines run properly for Emirates,” says Hughes.
His successor at Engine Alliance, Jim Moravecek, says the GP7200 performed “superbly” during the test programme. He adds that, at a fuel cost of $4 per gallon, the improved fuel-burn on the A380 would potentially save around $690,000 per aircraft per year, based on an average annual utilisation of 5,000 hours and a 6,000nm flight sector.
Moravecek says the GP7200 has been subjected to over 17,700 endurance cycles, comparable to the levels of testing given to the General Electric GE90 and Pratt & Whitney PW4084 – both of which are designed to meet the reliability demands of extend-range twin-engined operations.
He claims this regime makes the GP7200 the “most tested” commercial powerplant for a four-engined jet.
Three other customers – Air France, Korean Air and International Lease Finance – have another 24 GP7200-powered A380s on order. Air France next year will be the second carrier to introduce the engine.
Source: Air Transport Intelligence news