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.
Could be a bargaining tactic by Airbus, just like Ryanair is trying to use. Ryanair has less clout with Boeing on a price for their order if they don’t have Airbus to run to. All depends on what kind of offer Boeing now comes up with.
Surprising move by Airbus though. Losing customers is never a good thing but it would appear that Ryanairs cheekines finally crossed over some line.
In any case, it will be interesting to see what the final result of this order will be.
Ryanair… Is it the same Ryanair whose CEO said:
“Our message to Boeing today is, you keep building ’em, we’ll keep flying ’em and
together we will beat the crap out of Airbus in Europe” and “We are and will always be a Boeing customer”.
Well, Airbus is not losing customers, FR is not their customer to begin with. With the order book filled as it is, I doubt Leahy wants to be ‘raped’ on price like what Michael O’Leary said he did with Boeing in 2002. The GTF story is only pure speculation. As I recall PW wants an EIS in 2015, but FR want deliveries to begin in 2012.
This one with go to Boeing.