LEAP leaps ahead...

After Qantas announced that that they choose the LEAP-1A for their 78 A320neo, the CFM engine has a clear lead in the neo engine race. The first A320neo to be delivered will be operated by lowcost subsidiary jetstar. This is a blow to P&W and it's allies, as jetstar is a current IAE V2500 customer. But obviously GE's and CFM's leverage was better - GE supplies the GEnx for Qantas B787 and CFM of course has it's stakes at Qantas on the current 64 aircraft strong B737 fleet. Also the A330 fleet is equipped with the CF6-80.
This deal shows again that despite of current rumours about the LEAP engine being up to 4% behind the GTF in fuel burn (and I personally doubt that the number is actually that high), there are always other considerations driving business decisions at airlines. Fuel burn might have become more important in these days, but there is more to consider for an airline...


Am I biased?

In the airliners.net forum there is a discussion about my last blog entry and that I am biased towards Airbus and the GTF and against Boeing and GE/CFM.

Am I? Well, yes and no! I am partially biased - but only by knowledge (where applicable). After all I am an engineer always looking for the best technical solution.
And I am not biased - I have absolutely nothing against the B737MAX itself. In fact, if you look at a posts from June 2011  you will see that I was sceptical that Boeing will do a NSA (New Small Aircraft) but was in favor of the reengining. I am very sure that Boeing will build a very capable aircraft. If the fuel burn improvement comes out as advertised by Boeing, the range capability of the B737MAX-8 will be for sure better than that of the A320 family. The article from Aspire Aviation points it out, although with the same payload as the A320 (150pax) the B737MAX-8 range will be boosted more than 405nm (as this is the range increase at max payload), so the advantage for the MAX is even larger than 3645nm vs. 3510nm.
I have just (and admittedly not just one time) offered my doubts about the LEAP-X concept, especially for the B737, where the fan diameter is restricted. You just can't argue against physics. And I have seen and read that I am not the only one who have doubts - also regarding the LEAP-1A for the A320neo. And in my last blog I just quoted what was stated in the article with some own comments. I will quote now the preamble of this article to underline that these statements are not my statements, but that they seem to be well researched and credible:

Before you read this article
In the course of its research Airline Economics has gained direct input from the signatories on both sides of agreements for the aircraft and engines in question, from airlines, original equipment manufacturers and lessors. We also have had input from people involved in deals and engineering input from those working on the programmes. Airline Economics is now aware how much was paid for what, what mistakes were made, and knows who is worried. See Airline Economics, issues one, two and three, 201, for background on these aircraft and their engines. Thank you to those that helped with this article.
(end quote)

Currently I am working on a comparison between the A350 family and the proposed B777-X. I am not done yet, but I can already say that the A350, especially the -1000 will not look too good. The -800 will be (if ever build, what seems to be doubtful) what Michael O'Leary would call a dogs dinner, but falls out of the comparison with the B777-X family anyway and does not look good against the B787 family.
Finally, I am a big fan of the GE90-115B fan - not to forget the rest of the engine!


Even more doubts about B737MAX

I obtained a very interesting article from "Airline Economics", a publication from Aviation News. As it is a subscriber only magazine, I cannot upload the full article, but I will quote some interesting statements of the story called "A question of circumstance":
  1. Regarding the engine competition on the A320neo between the GTF and the LEAP-1A: "The end result is that you've got a really big gap between a P&W Neo and a CFMi Neo." To clarify: the gap is in favor of the P&W GTF and Airline Economics is quoting an senior industry expert here, who expects the LEAP to have a 4% disadvantage (what in my eyes is maybe a little bit too much).
  2. Regarding engine competition in the marketplace: "Airline Economics learned early last year that


GTF for B737MAX?

Rumors are spilling over and over since the ISTAT Americas conference in March that Boeing is seriously looking at the P&W GTF as a second engine option in addition to the LEAP-1B for the B737MAX. Aspire Aviation has a long article about the ongoing optimisation of the MAX here and Scott Hamilton is quoted in an article by the New Mexico Business Weekly here. A reason for these rumors seems to be the lack of confirmed orders for the MAX so far. There are only three customers who have ordered the MAX, all others only delivered commitments to the Boeing Headquarter so far. Sure, the year is long, so there is enough time for Boeing to convert the commitments to firm and credible orders, especially as Boeing might be keen to make a similar splash with the MAX at Farnborough as Airbus did with the Neo at Le Bourget last year. But as now there are these rumors about a possible second engine, the committed customers might want to wait and see if there is some truth behind them. So firming up the commitments before there is a final word from Boeing (or P&WA) in either way might be a challenge.
Scott Hamilton expects a decision in the next months - that could also coincide with Farnborough...