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Sun, Jun 25, 2006

GE Mulls Over New Engine For Upgraded A350

Bigger, Badder Design Would Cost $1 Billion

Scott Donnelly isn't ready to commit to developing a new engine for the proposed new design of the Airbus A350. At least that's what the president and CEO of GE Aviation reprtedly said privately following a June 21 speech at an Aviation Leaders Luncheon of the storied Wings Club in New York.

"GE would love to be on the plane," Donnelly told one trade publication recently, but the company has to balance that desire against the estimated $1 billion cost of developing a new engine even larger than the GEnx engines currently under development for the Boeing 787 and the existing A350 design.

The Cincinnati Business Courier reports 600 GEnx engines have been ordered so far by airlines worldwide.

An engine for the proposed larger A350, Donnelly said, would need to be about 10 percent larger than the GEnx that will power the 787 and the current A350 design. As such, other components, including the fan blades and combustors, would also need to be bigger. The GEnx features 111-inch fan blades and generates thrust levels around 75,000 pounds.

Rolls-Royce's offering for the A350 is the Trent 1700, at 63,000-75,000 pounds of thrust.

FMI: www.geae.com, www.rolls-royce.com/northamerica/, www.boeing.com, www.airbus.com

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