The Airbus A318 (Flight International 30 April - 6 May) is never likely to be a major programme in comparison with other Airbus aircraft. For this reason, Pratt & Whitney's PW6000 engine was only ever going to justify its existence by achieving adominant position on the A318 and using this as a platform for success elsewhere.

All of that now seems much less likely. The PW6000 will now be much later, much costlier, more complex, heavier and of questionable volume potential.

The CFM International CFM56 5B engine is likely to be reliable due to its substantialde-rating but it is really too big for the job as originally envisaged.

There is a smaller modern suitable engine already available; it is the Rolls-Royce BR715. Perhaps Airbus, Rolls-Royce and P&W should get together and examine if they could all benefit from a switch and give the CFM56 some competition sooner rather than later.

Perhaps an A318 version of the BR715 could over time incorporate some of the best features of the PW6000 in a joint programme involving not just P&W but the other IAE partners as well. This would be an appropriate basis from which to roll the engine into other narrowbody applications.

Roger Young

Herts, UK

Source: Flight International