Exactly two decades ago, the consortium that was to become International Aero Engines (Hall 5, Stand B10) was formed to build an engine, the V2500, to compete with CFM International’s CFM56 to power the Airbus A320. Since then, IAE has won itself a half-share of the world’s biggest civil market for aero engines and this year will mark delivery of the 4,000th engine and 50 million hours of service on the A320 series.
Perhaps more significantly, given the state of the global economy, IAE has just delivered the first shipset of V2500-A5 SelectOne engines to the Airbus final assembly line in China, the first Airbus final assembly line outside Europe.
“It’s an exciting year,” said IAE president and CEO Jon Beatty. He admitted, however, that the global economic slowdown will have its consequences in a slowing of production from last year’s peak, and that further out “there is some uncertainty.”
Almost all V2500 engines are now built to the SelectOne standard, which entered service in October 2008, bringing a 1-percent fuel burn reduction and 20-percent increased time on wing, while reducing shop visits by 40 percent. “The engine has had a flawless service entry,” said Beatty. “We have 20 SelectOne customers and more than 50 aircraft flying with the engine.” Only a handful of engines are still being built to the original V2500-A5 standard, he added.
In February, IAE completed the first retrofit of an A5 engine to SelectOne standard for US Airways. The engine had been in service since 1998, with more than 38,000 hours on-wing time and was included in the SelectOne aftermarket agreement that now covers more than half the V2500s in service.
Beatty explained that China has been the focus of a considerable marketing campaign, which has borne fruit in the form of a claimed majority share of the A320 engine market. “We power nine of the first ten aircraft off the final assembly line,” he told AIN. “IAE has made a conscious effort to be a strong presence in China.”
The V2500 powers 200 aircraft already flying in the country and has been selected for an additional 180 aircraft on order in the region, giving it a claimed 72- percent market share of the Chinese market to date. Sichuan Airlines is the first customer to take delivery of the A320.
The effects of the economic downturn have been delayed somewhat by existing production demands, with the figures for 2009 only slightly lower than last year.
Next year, however, Beatty sees “greater uncertainty, and we’ve built in a measure of variability to cope with that. In times like this you need to be flexible so that you can take advantage of the recovery when it comes.” He added that IAE is “working with its supply chain, subcontractors and customers to improve production flexibility and reduce lead times.”
With IAE having a claimed average of 50 percent of the global A320 market, Beatty is comfortable with the market position of the Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce and Japanese Aero Engines consortium. Asked about further possible improvements to the engine he said only, “We are in a process of continuous development,” but he added that there is “no definitive package of performance improvements” in the pipeline. “Our shareholders are investing in lot of advanced technologies, but we have to look at what makes sense,” he said.
The V2500 now has a public presence in one of the world’s busiest airports: New York’s JFK. Passengers using the new Terminal 5 can see a full-size model of one of the V2500 engines powering Jet Blue’s A320s. “We wanted to improve understanding of how people get from A to B,” said Beatty.
V2500 Sets New Service Record
A V2500 engine operating on a US Airways A319 airliner has set a new time-on-wing record, completing 30,520 hours on its first run. The record was announced by International Aero Engines last month.
This is the third time a US Airways engine has surpassed 30,000 hours before being removed for its first scheduled overhaul, and the achievement breaks the previous IAE time on wing record, also held by a US Airways engine. The V2500-A5 turbofan had been delivered to the operator in December 2000 and had completed nearly 12,000 cycles.