Engine Alliance undertakes PIPs, but not to level Emirates wants

June 17, 2015, Paris Air Show, c. Leeham Co. Engine Alliance, one of the two power plant suppliers for the Airbus A380, said today that it is undertaking Performance Improvement Package (PIP) upgrades to the GP7200 to lower maintenance and operating costs and to reduce fuel burn.

This contrasts with blunt remarks from Tim Clark, president and COO of Emirates Airlines (EK), that EA has “flat lined” and isn’t undertaking PIPs. Emirates is by far the largest operator of EA-powered A380s but recently ordered the competing Rolls-Royce Trent 900s for EK’s 50 A380s ordered late last year. Clark kept engine selection open at the time.

Dean Athans, Engine Alliance president, told LNC today that the A380 is a low-volume airplane and the

David Athans, president of Engine Alliance

business case for investing in the GP7200 to the level Clark want’s isn’t there.

“Tim is acting in the best interests of Emirates Airline, and he wants to most and the best of GP that he can get,” Athans said in an interview. “I’d do the same thing if I was in his place. He wants a brand new engine. He wants a large GTF or GE9X version for this A380s. I would, too. The position I’m in, looking at the volume and the business case for the A380, it doesn’t enable that level of investment.”

At the Annual General Meeting of the International Air Transport Assn. last week in Miami Beach (FL), Clark told LNC that EA wasn’t willing to invest in the PIPs Clark wanted, and RR is.

“Perhaps,” Athans said. “I’m not privy to what my competitor (RR) is willing to do or is willing to offer,” Athans said. “It’s hard, because it’s not a high-volume aircraft. If it was…it’s easier to get that latest technology and it’s easier to close a business case to spend a billion dollars on an improved engine or a new engine, and you can justify what he wants. I don’t blame him. I would want that also.”

Emirates aside, Athans outlined a series of improvements to the airfoils, fluid dynamics and other internal components to the GP7200. EA also has created a testing process to artificially manufacture dust similar to the desert environment that will improve engine operations and reduce costs for Emirates, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways and other carriers that operate in desert environments.

5 Comments on “Engine Alliance undertakes PIPs, but not to level Emirates wants

  1. yes engine alliance had said in the past that they could reduce fuel consumption of their GP72000 by 5% by adding a larger fan an aditional lp stage and utilising more 3D manufactured parts.

    • They are doing it all ready

      “The GP7200 engine is exceeding performance expectations with the incorporation of the high pressure turbine (HPT) upgrade announced at the 2014 Farnborough International Airshow. The EA has delivered more than 50 of the upgraded engines and has released a retrofit kit for operators who wish to take advantage of the latest benefits.”

      • The reasons for upgrade above are telling.
        “The Engine Alliance has also negotiated with German engine maker and partner MTU to run a 3,500 cycle endurance test of the engine with the new core upgrades in place. The test facility will be specially modified to simulate the environment of Dubai by injecting heated air and dust imported from the United Arab Emirates into the inlet.”
        Aviation Week

        Heated air and imported dust and still they switched supplier.

  2. Hmmm,

    Has anyone ever tallied up the rate of PIPs (and their impact) for single suppliers, i.e. R-R and collaborations, i.e. CFM?

    I suppose the real question being; if you have a choice, who are you better off buying off if the engines are fairly balanced now and the difference will be in performance improvements down the line?

  3. It is probable that Emirates advised EA that there is a strategy to harmonise engines at the airline to only two manufacturers, GE and RR.
    This would make sense as then the 777’s will use GE and RR the rest.

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