Bombardier has selected Pratt & Whitney’s Geared Turbofan (GTF) engine for its 100- to 149-seat C-Series airliners in a deal the airframer claims “secures the best technology available for the aircraft.”
The decision follows Mitsubishi Heavy Industry’s unexpected choice of the GTF in October for its planned MRJ70/90 regional airliners and cements P&W’s position with an all-new engine in a sector that will eventually include replacements for the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 families.
Benjamin Boehm, program management and marketing director for new commercial aircraft, revealed the decision at the show yesterday, although there will be no public announcement. Asked to gauge the risk level in choosing the all-new GTF, which uses a gearbox to optimize fan speed and produce 10 to 15 percent fuel burn savings, he wouldn’t concede a thing. “We don’t consider this engine to be risky,” said Boehm. “We’ve been working very closely with Pratt & Whitney for a long time on this and have carried out a full due diligence investigation into the technology.”
Bombardier issued a request for information to Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and CFM for the C-Series powerplant in February. “We chose the GTF because it exactly matched our timeline and technology requirement,” said Boehm. “It will contribute major fuel burn reductions to the C-Series as well as environmental benefits through its lower noise and emissions.” The planned decision on the C-Series go-ahead is due in 2008, which would lead to service entry in 2013.
The news came as P&W ran the first full-scale demonstrator GTF for the first time at its West Palm Beach, Florida advanced test facility, marking the beginning of a test program that will run through May 2008 and lead to flight testing on P&W’s testbed Boeing 747. A spokesman for P&W revealed that the company might demonstrate the engine aboard the aircraft at the Farnborough airshow in July.