Gilbert Sedbon/PARIS

CFM INTERNATIONAL partners Snecma and General Electric, and rival Pratt & Whitney, are engaged in a battle to secure an exclusive position as powerplant supplier for the planned stretched version of the Airbus Industrie A340.

The US/French partnership pressed its case in St Petersburg, Russia, in late October as part of the annual meetings which take place between Airbus and engine builders around the world. The European consortium's president Jean Pierson, GE Aircraft Engines boss Gene Murphy and Snecma chairman Bernard Dufour attended the talks.

CFMI, already the sole engine supplier on the existing A340 variants with the 151kN (34,000lb)-thrust CFM56-5 engines, has proposed a new 178-200kN-class engine known as the CFM XX. With development costs approaching $2 billion, the engine makers argue that the market for the stretched A340 - which would carry an extra 50 passengers - is insufficient for a competition.

Snecma and GE have offered Airbus a marketing partnership for the sale of the stretched A340. Michel Lagorce, GE's chief representative in Paris, says that the scheme would entail a joint sales-approach to customers, with CFMI paying a portion of the marketing costs.

P&W has also been seeking an exclusive position on the stretched A340, offering an advanced version of the PW2000 - a 191-200kN variant of the PW2040. The US engine builder has also been offering an advanced ducted-prop powerplant for use on the aircraft over the longer term.

Industry sources say that the Airbus position on exclusivity is unclear, although the reality is that, after the European aircraft maker decides on a launch engine, the runner-up is unlikely to be willing to find the funds for certification.

Source: Flight International