Emirates orders $1.5 billion engines to power Airbus

Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, is to purchase $1.5 billion worth of GE GP7000 engines to power its fleet of Airbus A380-800 aircraft.

Emirates, the Dubai-based airline, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the GE-Pratt and Whitney Engine Alliance for its GP7000 family of engines to power 22 firm and 10 option Airbus A380-800 aircraft.

Emirates Chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, signed the MOU at the Asian Aerospace Show in Singapore to buy the engines, which have a list price, including options, of approximately $1.5 billion. Also signing the agreement was Lloyd Thompson, president of the GE-Pratt and Whitney Engine Alliance.

Comprehensive negotiations are now taking place between Emirates and the Engine Alliance to finalise the General Terms Agreement (GTA).

The Emirates order is for GP7270 engines rated at 70,000 pounds (311 kN) of thrust powering 20 A380-800 passenger variant aircraft and GP7277 engines rated at 76,500 (340 kN) pounds of thrust powering the two freighters it has ordered.

Emirates was the world’s first airline to place firm orders for the A380 and the first to put down a deposit, making its commitment at Britain’s Farnborough Air Show. The airline now becomes the second customer for the GP7000 family, following Air France’s launch order for 10 firm aircraft in May 2001.

At last year’s Dubai Air Show, Emirates unveiled a $15 billion (US) fleet expansion, increasing its A380s to 22 plus 25 new Boeing 777s, eight A340-600s and three A330s – a total of 58 aircraft and the largest order ever placed by the airline.

With the Emirates selection, the Engine Alliance’s GP7000 engine family now leads in engine orders on the A380 among airline customers, with 32 firm aircraft.

Emirates expects deliveries of its A380s to start from September 2006. By then, Emirates expects to be flying more than twice as many passengers as currently to all five continents, with the super-jumbo A380 operating the world’s major routes from Dubai to Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America.

The GP7000 has begun development and verification testing, including two core engines which demonstrated stall-free high-efficiency performance of the High Pressure Compressor (HPC). Component tests are ongoing, with the third core engine slated to go to test early next year to continually improve performance and mature technology.

Aerodynamic rig tests of the two-stage high-pressure turbine (HPT) began in January 2002 and will follow with annular combustor sector rig tests to evaluate emissions and altitude relight characteristics.

Pratt and Whitney has successfully tested a 42%-scale GP7200 swept fan blade design on its Advanced Technology Fan Integrator (ATFI) demonstrator engine.

Derived from three million hours of service experience on the PW4000-powered Boeing 777, the GP7200 hollow titanium fan blade with ‘swept’ aerodynamics will have the same durability as the very successful PW4000 113-inch hollow titanium radial fan blade.

The Engine Alliance will begin detailed engine design in December 2002 and will run the first full engine test in second quarter of 2004. Current plans call for the type design to accumulate over 23,000 endurance cycles and 7,200 hours of operation on eight test engines prior to entry into service, exceeding normal standards for ETOPS-qualified engines.

The GP7200 is scheduled to be certified at 81,500 pounds takeoff thrust by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) of the European Economic Community in mid-2005. First flight on the A380 is scheduled for January 2006, followed by entry into service later that year.

Within the Engine Alliance, Pratt and Whitney is responsible for the fan, low pressure compressor, low pressure turbine, and accessory gearbox modules; GEAE is responsible for the engine core (HPC, combustor, and HPT) and control system modules.

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