CFM International continues to lead rival Pratt & Whitney in the race to power Airbus A320neo-family aircraft ordered by European customers, by 524 to 439 aircraft, according to Flight Fleets Analyzer data collated ahead of the MRO Europe event kicking off in London on 3 October.

Of the 29 operators and lessors in the region that have ordered the re-engined Airbus narrowbody, all but four – Aer Lingus, Air Serbia, Croatia Airlines and Swiss – have declared an engine choice. Eighteen have opted for the CFM Leap-1A, while 11 have gone for the PW1100G geared turbofan.

The reason these totals add up to 33 rather than 29 is that four customers have ordered both engines. Three of them – Avolon, AerCap and SMBC Aviation Capital – are lessors, so it makes sense that they would want to offer their clients a choice of propulsion supplier.

However, Lufthansa is the only European airline to select both powerplants: the GTF for 60 jets, and the Leap for 41. Six of the Pratt & Whitney-powered A320neos are already in service.

There are two factors behind this. Lufthansa's existing A320ceos are CFM56-powered, while its A321ceos are fitted with International Aero Engines V2500s, so the German flag carrier has form as an airline operating two engine types across one Airbus family.

Additionally, Lufthansa's maintenance arm, Lufthansa Technik, makes more than twice as much revenue from non-Lufthansa Group airlines as it does from its own sister companies. Therefore, it is logical for the German giant to use the clout of its biggest airline to enable its engineering division to quickly build competencies in both the Leap and the GTF. In fact, the MRO has already made moves towards becoming a centre of excellence for the two products.

Lufthansa Technik has set up a joint venture with MTU to overhaul PW1000G-family engines (variants also power the Bombardier CSeries, Embraer E2 family, Irkut MC-21 and Mitsubishi Regional Jet). German engine systems specialist MTU is a 15-18% shareholder (depending on application) in the Pratt & Whitney programme.

The facility will open in 2020, although the partners have yet to disclose where, beyond saying that it will be in a "globally competitive location" outside Germany. It will be designed to accommodate more than 300 shop visits a year.

Lufthansa Technik also announced last year that it had struck a deal with unions for efficiencies at its main Hamburg location, clearing the way to offer Leap maintenance there, alongside servicing CFM56s and V2500s.

While Lufthansa the airline has split its A320neo-family engine choice, Lufthansa Group subsidiary Swiss – which has 10 A320neos and five A321neos on order – has still to commit. Because of its sister carrier's two-way decision, Swiss could in theory go either way, although it is a current CFM56 operator.

The other European airline group to have ordered A320neo-family aircraft, IAG, has also effectively divided its engine selection, with two of its subsidiaries – British Airways and Iberia – opting for the Leap, and Spanish airline Vueling for the PW1100G.

Iberia's choice of the Leap for its 20 A320neos is unsurprising; the Spanish flag carrier has been an exclusive CFM operator on its single-aisle fleet for more than 30 years. BA, however, has switched from being an overwhelmingly V2500 operator on its A320ceo-family aircraft to the Leap for its 35 A320neos.

Vueling, on the other hand, operates both CFM56s and V2500s on its current-generation A320 fleet. Its 47 A320neos will be powered by Pratt & Whitney engines.

Other major European orders for the Leap include EasyJet for 130 aircraft, Pegasus for a fleet of 75 and TAP for 40 A320neo-family jets.

Pratt & Whitney’s big wins include Wizz Air for 110 aircraft, Turkish Airlines (92) and Norwegian (38).

European A320neo-family customers' engine choices

Source: Cirium Dashboard