Proposals from the three major engine makers for Boeing’s planned New Mid-market Airplane (NMA) all differ in technologies and the airframer is also yet to publicly indicate whether it will adopt a single-source strategy.

Speaking at the Singapore air show, Boeing Commercial Airplanes marketing vice-president Randy Tinseth said the current focus is on engine capabilities rather than the commercial terms of any supply deal.

“We have now brought in all three engine manufacturers,” he says. “They’ve all brought proposals and they’re all coming at the challenge in slightly different ways.”

Tinseth declines to comment on the specifics of the engine offers or the way the programme’s engine supply will be structured. “Our focus is on readiness of engines, capability of engines, those sort of things,” he says.

He admits that GE Aviation, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce “probably have an opinion, and it’s probably the same one” about a single-source deal to power the NMA.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes is drawing up the NMA’s business case to seek authority to offer from the Boeing board. Tinseth indicates that an early launch decision is unlikely, saying: “In terms of schedule, we’re looking at service entry in 2024-25. That gives us some time.”

The NMA will need an all-new engine in the 50,000lb (222kN) thrust class, but details on the architecture being proposed are sketchy. GE Aviation has said that its CFM International joint-venture has all but ruled out a geared-fan design, and its offering will likely be based on a direct-drive configuration.

Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney both decline to comment specifically about their plans for the NMA. The latter is however widely assumed to have based its submission on the geared-turbofan architecture it introduced with its PW1000G engine family.

R-R points to its Advance direct-drive engine design for the first half of the 2020s and the UltraFan geared design which is available from 2025. “This is a scalable technology with a thrust range of approximately 25,000 to 110,000lb,” it says.

Boeing’s intention with the NMA is to deliver at least a 30% cost reduction per seat over the 757, says Tinseth. “We see a market for at least 4,000 units,” he adds.

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Source: Cirium Dashboard