Emirates, the world’s largest buyer of Airbus A380 aircraft, is exploring engine options for a batch of 50 additional superjumbos, handing Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc an opportunity to unseat a General Electric Co. and Pratt & Whitney joint venture that powers the existing jets.
“A decision has not been made at this time on which engine will be used for the new A380s,” Emirates said in an e-mailed statement today. The selection “is under consideration and will be made soon.”
The first 90 A380s that Emirates has ordered, with 39 delivered, are powered by GP7200 turbines built by the GE joint venture with United Technologies Corp.’s Pratt unit, giving the so called Engine Alliance a market-share lead on the superjumbo. Rolls-Royce has secured deals from a broader range of A380 operators, including Qantas Airways Ltd.
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The London-based engine maker has been working on an update of its Trent 900 offering for the A380 to boost reliability and improve fuel burn, called EP2 or Enhancement Package 2. The upgrade will be available from next year, Rolls-Royce has said.
The Engine Alliance, which is exploring options for an upgrade to its GP7200 from next year, will introduce smaller part enhancements for new and existing turbines to improve reliability and long-term performance, said Dean Athans, the head of the consortium. These should address the cause of an in-flight GP7200 shutdown Emirates experienced this year.
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