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A350 GE engine could power future A380 variants: Hazy

Airbus should work with General Electric to develop a new large turbofan for the A350 XWB that is also capable of powering future A380 growth variants, says International Lease Finance boss Steven Udvar-Hazy.

In an interview with Flight's sister premium news site Commercial Aviation Online, Udvar-Hazy said he believed that Airbus was pushing GE to develop "almost a new family of engines" for the A350.

"One of the possibilities we have suggested to both is that this could be an engine for the 'A380-900' [proposed stretch] because the current engines on the A380 are not the latest technology," he says.

"Six or seven years ahead, the engine on the A350 XWB could potentially be on the growth version of the A380 - which could become the standard version of the aircraft," he adds.

ILFC was an A380 launch customer with orders for 10 aircraft, and is the only lessor to have placed orders for the ultra-large aircraft to date.

Although the company originally secured early delivery slots, it deferred these in the wake of the production delays to 2013/2014.

However Udvar-Hazy cautions that the ILFC order is not absolutely certain as it "has a window of opportunity to cancel them without any penalties...we don't have to make this decision until early 2010".

Regarding the A350 engine situation, Udvar-Hazy says that "any successful widebody preferably should have two engine choices" and he believes that pressure will increase on GE and Airbus "to come to some sort of peaceful arrangement" as more customers order the aircraft. "I hope by Farnborough in July that they come to some sort of agreement," he says.

"The catalyst could be an airline that says 'I will buy XX A350s but I want genuine engine competition'," adds Udvar-Hazy, who names Air France/KLM, Cathay Pacific and Dragonair as "A350 candidate customers that would probably want a competitive situation".

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