Paris Air Show

EngineAlliance anxious to power Airbus A350XWB

 - June 20, 2007, 9:55 AM

The GE Aviation /Pratt & Whitney Engine Alliance, which builds the GP7200 powering the Airbus A380 flying at the show, is ready to offer a powerplant solution for the A350XWB, if Airbus and GE fail to reach agreement.

“We’re standing by and waiting for a conclusion,” said Engine Alliance president Bruce Hughes. “We’d have to work a few hurdles, but if we can get round those and prove the business case, we’ll start talking to Airbus and see what comes out of it.”

Airbus and GE are attempting to thrash out a deal on powering the A350XWB at the show. Airbus insists it wants a single engine for all three versions of the aircraft. GE is offering an engine for the two smaller versions but not the largest, the A350XWB-1000, because it conflicts with the Boeing 777, which it powers.

Before it could offer an engine the Alliance would have to get around European Commission (EC) competition rules prohibiting it from competing unfairly on an engine for twins against the only other engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce. The EC exempted the Alliance in the case of the four-engine A380, because, it said, PW and GE would have had to develop all new engines individually, whereas Rolls-Royce had an existing engine, the Trent, which it could adapt. For the A350XWB, however, Rolls is developing an all-new engine on its own, in which case the EC rules would apply.