AIR NEW ZEALAND (ANZ) has switched its allegiance from Rolls-Royce to General Electric for its next Boeing 747-400, due for delivery in 1998.

The flag carrier opted for GE's CF6-80C2 over R-R's proposed RB.211-524G/H-T improved turbofan. The decision is a setback for the UK manufacturer's effort to sell its G/H-T engine to existing -524 operators, such as ANZ.

British Airways has already signed a letter of intent to order the -524G/H-T for 14 new 747-400s (Flight International, 23-29 April). ANZ, however, was under pressure to finalise its engine choice for its fourth and final -400 on order for delivery in September 1998 - three months ahead of the BA aircraft.

All three of Air New Zealand's own 747-400s are RB.211-powered, as are its five 747-200s. The airline has been operating two CF6-80C2-powered 747-400s on lease from International Lease Finance. Its fleet of Boeing 767 are CF6-80-powered.

It is unclear how the decision will affect R-R efforts to persuade Air New Zealand to retrofit the -524G/H-T modification on its three -524G-powered 747-400s.

R-R's new RB.211-524G/H-T was certificated by the UK Civil Aviation Authority on 11 May. The upgrade provides a 2% improvement in fuel consumption, reduced weight, lower emissions and longer life on-wing.

Certification of the RB.211-524G/H-T-powered 747-400 is scheduled next January.

Source: Flight International