Air Battles

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While Airbus and Boeing battle for jetliner orders, another battle is raging over the engines that power the planes.

Some of the major players include Pratt & Whitney, General Electric Co, and Rolls Royce.

Airlines purchase engines separately as each jetliner comes with engine specification. Engine makers, like plane makers, compete in the market with long-term maintenance and spare-parts contracts. They make profit on these two aspects.

Pratt & Whitney showcased their decade long invention, a new jet engine, called geared turbofan (GTF). The jet engine uses a very different technology from that of their counterparts. It took several years for its GTF to get recognition.

Bombardier Inc was the first to use GTF to power their CSeries passenger jet. Airbus later selected the GTF as one of two engine options on its revamped A320 single-aisle aircraft.

CSF, GTF competitor, is a joint venture of GE and Safran SA of France. CFM makes the engine solely for Boeing’s 737. Boeing is now considering other options, and a separate engine battle is emerging on that front.

While Airbus leads by winning A320neo orders from airlines early this year, Pratt’s GTF grabbed an early market lead in the engine sector. GE and Safran’s CFM venture scrambled to defend its position in a segment.

Before the Paris show began, CFM officials said they were unfazed by Pratt’s early successes and disputed their rival’s claims about its engine’s superior performance. While Pratt logged new orders for the GTF, CFM also announced a slew of orders for its competing Leap-X engine on the A320neo. Pratt’s success with GTF also buoys its hopes of breaking CFM’s long monopoly on the 737.

Source: Wall Street Journal


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