While competition between Airbus and Boeing snares nearly all the headlines and all the “sex,” competition for engine orders is less sexy and receives less attention.
Part of this is because of the increasing trend toward sole-sourcing. The Boeing 737 has been sole-sourced by CFM International since the creation of what is now called the Classic series: the 737-300/400/500. Pratt & Whitney believed at the time Boeing was upgrading the 737-200 that airplanes were up-gauging and bet its future on the Boeing 757 size. It was one of the classic corporate blunders of all time.
Shut out of the 737, P&W joined with Rolls-Royce and MTU to build the International Aero Engine V2500 for the Airbus A320 family. IAE came to the table late, giving CFM a solid head start on the program with a variant of the CFM 56 that powers the 737 Classic and later the 737 NG.
IAE trails to this day, but has done a remarkable job of coming from behind. CFM tends to be favored on the A319 and A320 while IAE is the preferred engine on the larger A321. IAE offers more thrust and better economics on the A321 while the CFM has better economics for the smaller Airbuses. CFM’s reliability is legendary and tends to be better than the V2500.
The blog PDXlight has done a marvelous job of dissecting the engine market share of the A320 family for the New Engine Option. We asked PDXlight to do the same exclusively for us for the A320ceo family. The results are below the jump.
In the November election, Washington State and Colorado voters approved recreational use of marijuana. As anyone who ever tried MJ knows (except a certain former President, who says he didn’t inhale), MJ has a sweet odor that is very distinctive.
Who has flown an airplane and hasn’t smelled that pungent odor of jet fuel being sucked into the cabin now and then during push-back and start-up (except maybe that former President, if he didn’t inhale then, either)?
Ballard Biofuel in Seattle may have the answer. Let’s all inhale.
Engine Selection on 777X: Rolls-Royce tells us it’s out as a supplier for the Boeing 777X. Pratt & Whitney earlier withdrew from the competition, deciding there wasn’t a business case to be second fiddle to GE, which was presumed by RR and PW to a sure bet to be a supplier even if Boeing went with a dual source engine option. All this means, of course, that GE and its GE9X will be the sole source engine on the new airplane.
Marc Birtel, in an email statement, neither confirmed or denied the news.
“We are following a disciplined development process for the 777X and will make announcements regarding suppliers at the appropriate time. Our decision regarding engine options will be based on the right technical solutions available at the right time under the right business arrangements to meet our customers’ requirements.”
Boeing webcast on battery fix: Boeing has a webcast open to all at 6pm PDT today about the battery fix for the 787.
ICAO says no to lithium-ion batteries: The UN organization ICAO apparently will reverse itself and say that lithium-ion batteries should not be shipped as cargo on passenger airliners. This seems like a prudent move, considering the history of fires involving this battery type, even before the Boeing 787 incidents.
Dendrites and the 787: It sounds like something out of your biology class. Microscopic things called Dendrites might be the root cause of the lithium-ion battery fires on the 787, according to the first reporting from The Wall Street Journal. (Subscription required. Here is a Reuters story on the same topic.)
Deleting Flightblogger: Alas, we deleted Flightblogger from our bookmarks. Jon Ostrower created this blog and built it into a major aviation resource. When he departed Flight International for The Wall Street Journal, Flight half-heartedly (if that) continued the column, but there hasn’t been an entry since August.
Rolls-Royce Certifies Trent XWB: Rolls-Royce received certification for the Trent XWB, which will be used for the Airbus A350.
Airbus still ponders battery future: Airbus is still considering what to do about the plans to use the lithium-ion battery in the A350. A Seattle TV station reported Airbus made the decision to drop these batteries in favor of older, proven technology. Airbus told us this isn’t so (yet). Says a spokesman:
We are following the 787 investigation closely and will evaluate whether any recommendation applies to us.
We have a robust design. If this design has to evolve, we have the time to do that before first delivery.
Nothing prevents us from going back to a classical plan that we have been studying in parallel.
We have all options open, which we keep evaluating in pace with the ongoing investigation.
Last year yielded a few surprises in an otherwise predictable year.
Jim Albaugh shocked the aviation world when he retired unexpectedly at age 62. He was expected to remain in his position as CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes until mandatory retirement at 65.
EADS CEO Tom Enders unleashed a surprise merger proposal with BAE Systems. The deal didn’t work due to German government opposition, but he ultimately accomplished a governance restructuring—a key objective of the merger—that will reduce government meddling in the future.
Those were about it. Boeing’s much-anticipated Authority to Offer the 777X didn’t happen. ATO for the 787-10 was stealthily granted. Airbus and Bombardier, to no surprise, delayed the A350 and CSeries by a few months. Boeing came roaring back to become sales leader for the first time in about a decade, on the strength of 737 MAX sales.
What’s ahead for 2013? Here’s what we see.
With the spurt of 737 MAX sales over, narrow-body sales competition between Airbus and Boeing should return to normalcy. Will twin-aisle sales become the next growth market because of the first flight of the A350 and the program launch of the 7870-10? Will ATO of the 777X evolve into a program launch as well? Will Bombardier’s first flight of the CSeries and subsequent testing validate its claims for the new technology airplane and finally spur a large number of sales of the “show me” crowd?
Here’s our OEM-by-OEM rundown.