Pratt & Whitney is considering building an engine for the A350 long-haul plane to challenge Rolls-Royce’s monopoly on the new aircraft, people familiar with the plan said.
Pratt & Whitney would offer an engine based on its PW1000G geared turbofan technology, said the people, who asked not to be named because the plan isn’t public. A decision to formally pursue the program may come as soon as this year, one of the people said.
Airbus had originally sought a second engine offering to Rolls-Royce’s TrentXWB on its A350. It had failed to persuade either General Electric, which powers the competing Boeing 777, or Pratt & Whitney, which was tied up developing the geared turbofan. Airlines including Air France-KLM have said they’d welcome a choice because it would give them leverage on maintenance, a major source of revenue for Rolls-Royce.
Airbus would have to sign off on the Pratt plan before airlines could opt for the engine. The company is “happy that the one engine we have on offer has already achieved 617 sales,” spokeswoman Marcella Muratore said. “However we have always said that we would consider other offers if they are competitive in terms of performance.”
“As Pratt & Whitney looks ahead to powering future wide- body applications, we will scale the geared turbofan architecture to the required thrust levels,” the company said. “We continue to keep all airframers informed of our progress on the PW1000G family, including studies with Airbus for potential wide-body applications.”
Pratt & Whitney’s A350 engine would have to be more than twice as powerful as its existing versions. The company, a subsidiary of United Technologies, has undertaken studies that show the leap can be made even if technical hurdles must be overcome, one person said.
The engine maker remains interested in using its technology to power big jets, Bob Saia, who oversees Pratt’s next- generation products, said in an interview this month. Pratt decided not to compete for a spot on the upgraded version of Boeing’s 777 due around the end of the decade, a program drawing interest from GE and Rolls-Royce, the industry leaders.
Development of Pratt engines for regional and single-aisle jets is nearing an end, with the turbines in flight testing. That’s freed up resources to pursue a slot on larger airliners.
Rolls has won exclusive rights from Airbus to offer the TrentXWB on the A350-1000, the largest model, while its position on the -900, the first and most popular version, and on the smaller -800, can be challenged.
The unique airline mentioned in this article is Air France-KLM. With an order of 25 A350-900 on stand by since Sep/2011. Air France has been trying to gain rights to maintain engines from Rolls-Royce as part of this long-planned order for A350s. Failure to strike an agreement between the airline, which wants to bolster its technical unit, and the engine maker, which wants to protect its profitable after-sales income, has delayed a deal.
Based on the article “Pratt & Whitney Said to Study Airbus A350 Engine to Rival Rolls” published in Bloomberg.