Jon Ostrower has an interesting think piece about the prospect of Ryanair ordering up to 400 Airbus A320s or Boeing 737s powered by the new Pratt & Whitney GTF, or Geared Turbo Fan P1000G.
We first broke the story that Boeing is evaluating the prospect of 737 “re-generation” for an article we did for Aviation and the Environment magazine. P&W is developing the engine for Mitsubishi’s MRJ regional jet and Bombardier’s CSeries, but both airplanes are small. The MRJ seats 70-90 and the CSeries 110-149, but the MRJ has only one order in Japan and the CSeries continues (at this writing) to be stillborn. P&W has been developing the GTF for 20 years; without re-engining the A320 or 737, this investment is pretty much down the drain.
With Boeing and Airbus seemingly putting off a full replacement airplane for their prime jets until around 2020 or even later, airlines–notably Southwest–want a more fuel efficient airplane before then. The GTF would save 12%-15% on fuel burn. As we wrote for AE magazine, Boeing is on track to make some decisions for a 737RG this year with a prospect for an EIS in the 2013-15 period. This is a timeframe P&W can meet to provide the GTF to Boeing.
Airbus, of course, provided an A340-600 test bed for P&W to get some good data for the GTF. This information went to Airbus’ R&D department, where evaluation of a GTF A320 is almost a certainty.
Or not. James Wallace of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that Airbus super-chief John Leahy says there aren’t any talks going on with Ryanair.