Rolls-Royce is in "advanced negotiations" with Airbus Industrie on supplying a Trent "shrink" to power the stretched A340-600 long-range airliner, with a senior source at the consortium's French partner Aerospatiale predicting a deal by mid-April.

The source says that the UK manufacturer has come up with an "extremely attractive" engineering and financial package, but is unable to confirm whether the deal is likely to be on an exclusive basis, or left open to competition. "We have still had no offer from Pratt &Whitney," he adds.

R-R is proposing a 245-290kN (55,000-65,000lb)-thrust engine which would combine a scaled-down Trent 800 core with the fan of the Trent 700 (Flight International, 12-18 February).

Rolls-Royce chairman Sir Ralph Robbins will confirm only that a deal might be concluded "sometime in the spring or summer".

Negotiations with General Electric on an exclusive deal to power the aircraft, which Airbus wants to launch this year, were broken off in February after failure to agree a financial package. GE had proposed a virtually new, very high bypass ratio engine.

"We hope to have an engine supplier by the Paris air show", says John Leahy,senior vice-president commercial at Airbus.

Source: Flight International