Qantas has selected the improved Rolls-Royce RB211-524GT turbofan for its three recently ordered Boeing 747-400 passenger aircraft, clearing the way for a decision on a powerplant retrofit to the Australian carrier's 18 747-400s.

The airline opted for the R-R engine after a competition involving the General Electric CF6-80C2 and Pratt & Whitney PW4056. Qantas' three 747-400s are scheduled for deliveries starting in late 1999, while it has options on another three.

Qantas already operates an all- RB211-powered fleet of 747-200/ 300/400s, but recently purchased three secondhand CF6-80C2- equipped -400s from Malaysia Airlines and Asiana, casting doubt on its future commitment to the R-R engine. An additional new 767-300 ordered at the same time will also be powered by the CF6.

Selection of the engine is seen as giving an important boost to the separate R-R proposal to upgrade the -524G engines now in Qantas service to the GT standard.

Source: Flight International