British Airways sister company Vueling Airlines SA plans to pick an engine supplier for its expanded fleet of Airbus Group NV (AIR) jets by next month in a contest between General Electric Co. (GE) and Pratt & Whitney.
The Spanish discount arm of BA owner International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (IAG) may make an announcement at Britain’s Farnborough Air Show, which begins on July 14, Chief Executive Officer Alex Cruz said today in an interview.
IAG ordered 30 Airbus A320s and 32 re-engined Neo variants worth almost $6 billion for Vueling in August, three months after taking full control of the unit. Vueling’s existing fleet is split between A320s powered by the CFM56 from a venture including General Electric Co., and V2500s made by the International Aero Engines group controlled by Pratt & Whitney, with both companies also building turbines for the Neo.
“They’re all aware of who they are so we should be finishing that tender soon,” Cruz told Bloomberg Television, adding that with the year’s main industry expo looming, “that may be the time to conclude this long process.”
While Boeing Co. (BA)’s re-engined 737 Max, which competes with the Neo, is tied to the Leap-X from GE’s CFM International joint venture with Safran SA (SAF) of France, the Airbus plane is available both with that engine and the PW1000G geared turbofan from Pratt & Whitney, a division of United Technologies Corp. (UTX)
Engines deals can be particularly lucrative because of the intense maintenance and parts-replacement schedules powerplants require over years of service. IAG has options for a further 60 A320s for Vueling, split between the classic and Neo variants.
Vueling will boost its presence in Rome and Brussels this summer as it looks to establish a pan-European profile.
The Barcelona-based carrier overlaps with Ryanair Holdings Plc (RYA), Europe’s top discount operator, on up 40 percent of routes, differentiating itself mainly in terms of products like in-flight Wi-Fi and special passes for business clients, Cruz said.
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