General Electric and Rolls-Royce are sharing honours following Qantas Airways' decision to split the selection of engines for its planned new widebody fleet between the GE CF6-80 for the Boeing 747-400LR and Airbus A330-200/300 and the R-R Trent 900 to power the A380-800 ultra-large aircraft.


The Australian carrier is understood to have divided the 31-aircraft engine order in an effort to reduce its exposure to any single supplier. The deal represents a bitter-sweet victory for R-R and GE, with Pratt & Whitney the only real loser from the competition.

Qantas' choice of the Trent 900 for its 12 A380s further strengthens R-R's lead over the GE/P&W Engine Alliance in powering the ultra-large aircraft. The engine has already been selected to power the A380 by Singapore Airlines and Virgin Atlantic, while International Lease Finance has made a tentative commitment to the Trent 900.

The Engine Alliance has still to secure a launch order for a GP7200 on the A380, but has high hopes of winning ongoing competitions at Air France and FedEx, while Emirates is viewed as a likely R-R customer. Leasing company GE Capital Aviation Services will almost certainly opt for the GP7200 if it firms up an anticipated order for 10 aircraft.

GE will not be totally unhappy with the outcome of the Australian competition, with the selection of the CF6-80C2B5F as the launch powerplant for the new increased gross weight 747-400LR, six of which have been ordered by Qantas. The carrier has also picked the CF6-80E1 to equip its seven A330-200s and six larger -300s.

Source: Flight International