The General Electric/ Pratt & Whitney GP7000 engine alliance is maintaining its original technical goals for the A3XX, despite Airbus' decision to delay the programme. The alliance is aiming to launch the GP7000 at the end of next year.

"We've kept all the engine milestones the same for 1998 and 1999," says GE-P&W Engine Alliance president Bruce Hughes.

Technical proposals will be made to airlines in the second half of this year. Firm offers will then be made in the first half of 1999, before a launch in the third quarter. "We all have to be in lock-step with that, which means our engine has to be launched in December 1999," says Hughes.

The alliance and rival Rolls-Royce, which is developing the Trent 900 for the A3XX under a memorandum of understanding with Airbus, see the delay as a chance to add recently developed technology.

"All in all the delay is a good thing. It gives us more time to add new things. The performance is still in place, so the programme is not losing momentum," adds Hughes.

Source: Flight International