Brent Hannon and Andrzej Jeziorski/TAIPEI

Continuing surge problems with its Pratt & Whitney PW4056-powered aircraft contributed to China Airlines' (CAL) decision to choose General Electric as the engine supplier for its latest aircraft orders.

"Engine surge is still a problem. We can live with it, but we are not happy," says CAL president Sandy Liu. The airline will keep its 12 PW4056-powered Boeing 747-400s in service, but is replacing five PW4460-powered MD-11s.

Liu had earlier said that GE won the contract by outbidding P&W on price. CAL signed an $800 million contract with GE this month covering CF6-80C2 engines for up to 17 747-400 freighters and CFM International CFM56 engines for five Boeing 737-800s and up to 12 Airbus A340-300s (Flight International, 18-24 August). The airline is believed to have specified the CF6 for its A330-300 options, taken as part the A340 deal.

The GE contract brings with it welcome additional work for Taiwan's Aerospace Industrial Development Corporation (AIDC), which will receive a total of $150 million in work from GE over the next four years, says AIDC's engine factory director John Leu. The bulk of this work will be the manufacture of components for the CF6, but will also include parts for the CFM56.

CAL president Sandy Liu says the airline returned to profit in the first half of this year. Provisional pre-tax profit figures exceeded NT$1.3 billion ($40.7 million), compared with a loss of NT$3.2 billion in the same period last year and an overall pre-tax loss of NT$4.2 billion in 1998 - partly a result of the crash of its Airbus A300-600R at Taipei in February of that year.

Source: Flight International