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Thu, Jun 07, 2007

Airbus Says No To GEnx For A350 XWB

Trent XWB Only Engine Choice Currently Offered

What's good enough for Boeing, isn't good enough for Airbus... as the European planemaker said this week it's highly unlikely it will sign General Electric to provide a version of its GEnx turbofan for the upcoming Airbus A350 XWB.

"We have one engine, which is Rolls right now, and probably will not have anything with GE for the next couple of months, perhaps even before the end of this year," said Airbus Chief Commercial Officer John Leahy to Bloomberg. "Nothing is imminent with GE."

For the moment, the only engine slated for the A350 XWB is a variant of Rolls-Royce's Trent engine family, dubbed the Trent XWB. That powerplant would be based off other models, including the Trent 900 turbofan used on the Airbus A380, and the upcoming Trent 1000, designed for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The GEnx is derived from the GE90 engine, which powers Boeing's 777 twin-engine widebody aircraft. The GEnx sports composite fan blades, and a
unique single-annular combustor (where compressed air and fuel are mixed) to achieve what GE says is a 20 percent reduction in emissions over today's turbofans.

In addition to the 787, the engine will also be used exclusively on Boeing's 747-8.

As ANN reported, GE Aviation President and CEO Scott Donnelly said in June 2006 his company was exploring the possibility to design a GEnx version for smaller versions of the A350... but that was before Airbus announced a significant redesign of that aircraft. Since then, talks between the two parties have slowed to a crawl.

Leahy said Airbus is looking past the technology offered by the GEnx for its A350 XWB, which is slated to enter service in 2013.

"GEnx engines don't work for us at all," Leahy said this week at the International Air Transport Association's general meeting in Vancouver. "We have no intention of putting their GEnx engine on the A350 at all. It has to be a generation beyond."

That implies Airbus is looking for a completely clean-sheet engine design... something GE may not be willing to provide, due to costs.

FMI: www.geae.com, www.airbus.com

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