Paris Air Show

GECAS president spurns non-GE-engined products

 - June 18, 2007, 10:26 AM

 Aircraft leasing company General Electric Commercial Aviation Services (GECAS) has converted options held on six GE90-110B1L-powered Boeing 777F cargo aircraft, bringing its 777 fleet to 39, of which 15 have been delivered. The latest order, which can be changed to cover passenger variants, brings GECAS 777F orders to 14 and its total Boeing fleet to 378.

Altogether, 52 customers have ordered some 969 Boeing 777s; 635 have been delivered. GECAS president Henry Hubschman said, “The 777 has proven itself a strong performer in the passenger market, and we believe this will also apply in the cargo segment.”

GECAS has not yet placed orders for the planned Airbus A350XWB, and when acquiring speculatively, has always obtained aircraft with GE (or GE/Snecma-owned CFM) engines, thus apparently ruling itself out of the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-engined A350 development. But Hubschman confirmed that if prospective customers so demanded, GECAS would have to reconsider its philosophy. “If there is no engine choice and [available power] was not GE, we would have to make a policy decision,” he said.

The GECAS chief does not recognize the claimed advantage for an aircraft to have interchangeable engines between models offered by alternative manufacturers, as, for example, is planned for the new Boeing 787. To claims that such flexibility could make an aircraft more attractive in the marketplace, Hubschman said, “We have not seen operators talking about interchangeable engines being an issue. It could be [true], but we have no evidence.”