After generating $12.7 billion in revenue in 2011 and having won the first three launch orders for the Airbus A320neo re-engined narrowbody, Pratt & Whitney president David Hess was naturally in an upbeat mood when he faced reporters at the show yesterday.
The announcement of the new joint venture between Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney on mid-sized engines was hardly a statement of marriage, but the vows made by the two aero-engine giants on 12 October nevertheless secure their long-term future in the huge market for mid-sized aero-engines up to 2030.
American Airlines signed a pair of “landmark agreements” to place orders for 460 narrowbody jets from Boeing and Airbus, the airline announced today. Plans call for American to order 260 A320-family aircraft and 200 Boeing 737s, scheduled for delivery starting in 2013 and continuing through 2022.
Major orders for the new CFM International Leap-X turbofan engine are due to be announced during the first four days of the Paris show, intensifying the battle with Pratt & Whitney to power the Airbus A320neo. “We’re set for this to be one of our best shows ever,” said the company.
The Airbus A320neo (for “new engine option”) is “the fastest selling aircraft in history” and the manufacturer set itself the target of accruing “over 500” commitments by this week’s Paris Air Show, according to chief operating officer (customers) John Leahy. By early April, the company had booked more than 330 orders and “commitments” and this prompted it to accelerate the program by six months.
As Airbus considers an A320-replacement to compete against prospective single-aisle models from Boeing and emerging challengers from Russia and Asia, it is also looking at technologies that could contribute to even longer-term designs in a program dubbed “A30X.” Mindful that modern jetliners are expected to have working lives of at least 40 years, chief operating officer for customers John Leahy said Airbus needs “future technology for future
Bombardier has already thrown its hat into the more-than-100-seats jetliner ring with its C Series design and Embraer is considering its response to perceived market requirements (see box). But industry leaders Airbus and Boeing have been markedly reticent to reveal more of their thinking on the characteristics needed in designs to replace their A320 and 737, respectively, in the 150-passenger class by the end of the next decade.
International Aero Engines has logged orders for $1.4 billion worth of V2500 engines at Farnborough. With more than 5,000 powerplants in service or on order, the company’s long-term future would seem to look secure.
The key to Bombardier’s still-pending decision on whether to go ahead with a $2 billion-plus investment in its projected C Series 110/130-seat regional airliner family appears to rest with the engine manufacturers.
International Aero Engines (IAE) is talking with Airbus and Boeing about a prospective powerplant for a next-generation 150-seat airliner to follow on from the A320 and 737 families. “The timing is not clear, but our technology programs suggest that a new design must represent a step change from current engines,” said president Mark King. IAE comprises Japanese Aero Engines, MTU Aero Engines, Pratt & Whitney and Rolls-Royce.
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