Aviation Upgrade Technologies (AUT), a California-based company, has filed a $2.5 billion anti-trust lawsuit against Boeing and engine manufacturers CFM International (CFMI) and Rolls-Royce. It alleges that the three companies conspired to defeat a "well-defined" business plan to develop a 727-200 twinjet re-engining programme.

The $2.5 billion sum was AUT's estimated profit margin based on projected sales of 700 conversions.

AUT, which could not be contacted for comment, claims in the lawsuit that it was originally negotiating with CFM International for CFM56 engines to support the programme. It alleges, however, that CFM "suddenly" advised AUT it could not proceed without Boeing's approval. This scenario was later repeated when AUT approached Rolls-Royce.

AUT then contacted Boeing Aircraft Services at Long Beach, California, which, it claims, agreed support but then backed out after consulting Boeing headquarters.

In the lawsuit, AUT alleges that Boeing "persuaded" both engine makers not to participate in the project. Boeing says: "We are attempting to find out more about the situation."

Source: Flight International