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Qatar Airways Converted A PW A330 To GE.  
User currently offlinePM From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 6941 posts, RR: 63
Posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5423 times:

Qatar Airways have a substantial fleet of A330s (-200s and -300s) and chose GE of the three engine options. But one of their planes (A330-200 A7-ACH c/n 441) was built with PW and then converted to GE CF6s. Why?

The short answer is because they want GE but why go to the expense of converting a virtually new plane? The expense must have been considerable. Surely there was a customer ready to take an A330-200 with PW4000s? Why was it in this case - uniquely, as far as I know - preferable to pull off the PWs and install GEs?

Converting planes from one engine type to a competing one is almost unknown. (OK, the prototype 777-200 was converted from PW to RR for Cathay but that was a special case. The plane was built for Boeing but much later placed with a customer who happened to want an engine other than PW.) Have there been any other examples?

If not, why did it happen in the case of Qatar and the A332?

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineN60659 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 654 posts, RR: 24
Reply 1, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5371 times:

Quoting PM (Thread starter):
If not, why did it happen in the case of Qatar and the A332?

PM, you track this much better than I could ever hope to, but just to play out a 'what-if' scenario, is it possible that the aircraft in question was a 'white-tail'? Was it either cancelled or deferred by another carrier with PW power that QR acquired to fulfill the immediate need for capacity and chose to convert subsequently? Could it be that the cost of conversion was offset by the immediate impact of available capacity? Like I said, I don't have a definitive answer. Just supposition.

-N60659



Nec Dextrorsum Nec Sinistrorsum
User currently offlinePM From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 6941 posts, RR: 63
Reply 2, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5332 times:

N60659,

Must have been something like that. But it's an extreme (and unique?) expedient to snap up a white-tail and change the engines. I wonder who picked up the bill? Qatar (who maybe needed the plane in a hurry) or Airbus (who perhaps wanted to offload a white-tail)? I'm told that it's neither easy nor cheap to switch between GE/PW/RR once a plane has been completed.


User currently offlineN60659 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 654 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 5266 times:

While not adding any substance to this discussion as to why QR switched powerplants on the A330, I did find this article which is interesting and is somewhat tangentially associated with this thread:

http://www.gecas.com/news20031512.asp

-N60659



Nec Dextrorsum Nec Sinistrorsum
User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6491 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 3 hours ago) and read 5216 times:

Quoting PM (Reply 2):
I'm told that it's neither easy nor cheap to switch between GE/PW/RR once a plane has been completed.

Until now.  Wink



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlinePM From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 6941 posts, RR: 63
Reply 5, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 5126 times:

Quoting N328KF (Reply 4):
Until now.

We'll see...


User currently offlineUdo From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5108 times:

Atlas Air once converted some PW-powered B747-200F to GE.


Regards
Udo


User currently offlineN328KF From United States of America, joined May 2004, 6491 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5068 times:

Quoting PM (Reply 5):
We'll see...

"We'll see?" Boeing, GE, and RR are offering exactly that.



When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' T.Roosevelt
User currently offlineLightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 13302 posts, RR: 100
Reply 8, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 5037 times:
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On the A332 the conversion isn't cheap
Different nacelle on the A332 (on the 767 and 744 the CF6 and pw4000 use the *same* nacelle). There is a cool million or so.

However, with the A332 there is another reason. Pratt designed the pw4172 and due to a botched flow path out of the surge vents, the engine had to be derated back down to 68k of thrust. Because of this, the MTOW is reduced (sorry, I don't have the figures in front of me for the MTOW reduction). GE met the 72k thrust requirement. If one is flying the A332 for more than 5,000nm, this is a *big* issue. Or... if one is flying Hot/high this is a *big* issue. (Gee, Qatar need hot performance... naa...)

Beyond the cost of the engine and nacelle, I have been quotes an even $1million for the cost to convert an airframe's engine type. So this conversion was probably on the order of $1.5m (nacelles) + $1m (conversion) +$5mill (engines) or $7.5million dollars. However, the Pratt engines would have sold for about $4m on the used market (anyone have more up to date prices?). So a $3.5 million conversion to keep commonality actually isn't too bad on a ~$70 million USD airframe. The pay back would probably be in 2 or 3 years.

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlineN60659 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 654 posts, RR: 24
Reply 9, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 5015 times:

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 8):
So this conversion was probably on the order of $1.5m (nacelles) + $1m (conversion) +$5mill (engines) or $7.5million dollars. However, the Pratt engines would have sold for about $4m on the used market (anyone have more up to date prices?). So a $3.5 million conversion to keep commonality actually isn't too bad on a ~$70 million USD airframe.

Good information Lightsaber. Thanks. Now if this and all the other A330s QR flies are leased through GECAS, and the cost of the conversion is split three ways, everyone turns out a winner:
-QR gets an A330 that conforms with the rest of the fleet from both the maintenance and performance standpoints,
-GECAS has a re-marketable and popular airframe/engine at the end of the QR lease which is similar to all the others it owns, and,
-Airbus is able to make a sale on a white-tail (if it truly was one).

-N60659



Nec Dextrorsum Nec Sinistrorsum
User currently offlineCrosswind From United Kingdom, joined Nov 2000, 2600 posts, RR: 58
Reply 10, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4990 times:
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C/N 441 was ordered by Flightlease with PW4000 engines (A330-223) for lease to Air Luxor as CS-TMT.

As best I can work out, the Air Luxor transaction was cancelled during production of the airframe, and that the PW engines were never installed. At that stage the airframe was signed over to Qatar Airways as a white-tail and they specified GE engines so when the airframe rolled out of the factory it was as an A330-203. The engines can be changed fairly late in the production process, but it's an altogether more complex matter to re-engine an aircraft once it has been completed.

As far as Qatar is concerned they didn't re-engine the aircraft, they took up a white-tail in production and specified a different engine to the original customer, who I would expect have borne any additional costs of the PW/GE substitution under their contactual obligations resulting from cancelling the order.

When the aircraft first flew it had GE engines;

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © French Frogs AirSlides



Regards
CROSSWIND


User currently offlineLightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 13302 posts, RR: 100
Reply 11, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4970 times:
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Quoting Crosswind (Reply 10):
The engines can be changed fairly late in the production process, but it's an altogether more complex matter to re-engine an aircraft once it has been completed.

Good information. If the nacelles were never attached... that saves a ton of money. Also, if the plane first flew with GE's, then there would be no need to recirt the airframe. The original customer would have been hit with a cancellation penalty from Pratt (engines and nacelles, the pw4168 is the only engine still in production with Pratt nacelles).

Peter, how's Switzerland treating you? Keep in touch.

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlineDutchjet From Netherlands, joined Oct 2000, 7864 posts, RR: 57
Reply 12, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 4950 times:

Interesting stuff - a change in the specified engine for an airliner during production or afterwards is very rare.

One case I can think of is a couple of CX's A330s - in order to get aircraft quickly, CX purchased the two A333 test models and those were converted to RR power to be uniform with the other A333s in CX's fleet.


User currently offlinePanAm330 From United States of America, joined Mar 2004, 2689 posts, RR: 9
Reply 13, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 4894 times:

Quoting Lightsaber (Reply 8):
$70 million USD airframe

Since when was an A330 so cheap? Hell, for that price, I'll go get one  Wink.


User currently offlineGigneil From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 16347 posts, RR: 85
Reply 14, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 4843 times:

Yeah its really more a $150m airframe.

N


User currently offlineLufthansa From Christmas Island, joined May 1999, 3219 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 4820 times:

Nobody ever pays the list price at Airbus (or very few at boeing these days)

They would have probably got the A332 for that or slightly more... just like 737s are suppose to be $45 million but they're frequently discouted to early $30s million.

Still expect recent USD vs Euro exchange rates to impact on the price of Airbus widebody aircraft... not so much the A320s because of the higher output and production economy of scale, but recent movements should make things look good for the old 777.


User currently offlineIvo From Belgium, joined Sep 2000, 470 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 4714 times:

Crosswind,

c/n 441 first flight 27/11/2001.
Seen Toulouse 17/12/2001 Air Luxor cs and "www.airluxor.com" titles.

Seen Toulouse 3/9/2003 Qatar cs and GE engines
First flight with GE 22/9/2003
Delivered to Qatar 12/12/2003

Source:
http://airlinerlist.com

Regards,
Ivo


User currently offlineTrex8 From United States of America, joined Nov 2002, 4791 posts, RR: 14
Reply 17, posted (9 years 2 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 4619 times:
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Quoting PanAm330 (Reply 13):
Yeah its really more a $150m airframe.

there were the previous threads saying some NW exec spilled the beans on the cost of their A333 which IIRC was around 70 or less and there was the CI website announcement of financing for one of theirs for 80s millions. Its quite possible its less engines and other airliner supplied equipment like furnishings but some major airlines are not paying over 100 total for sure!
then there are the qantas threads which say QF paid less than 100 for their 744ERs. when either manufacturers want your business its a buyers market out there!

June 21, 2004, Taipei, Taiwan- China Airlines and CALYON, a leading French bank, today held a joint signing ceremony for a US$ 235 million financing contract for CAL¡¦s acquisition of three new Airbus A330-300 aircraft. The new aircraft financing is guaranteed by the European export credit agencies. Mr. Phillip Wei, President of China Airlines, and Mr. Michel Roy, Senior Country Manager of CALYON, signed the contract for the two companies. The three new aircraft are to be delivered in late June, July and December, 2004.

China Airlines ordered 14 A330-300s from Airbus Industrie in 2002, and will take delivery between 2004 and 2007. The A330s will eventually replace CAL¡¦s A300-600Rs on Asian regional routes departing from Taipei and Kaohsiung. With 313 seats, the A330 has 18% more capacity than the A300-600Rs. In addition, the A330 aircraft have a high degree of commonality with CAL¡¦s A340 fleet, which leads to reduced maintenance and flight crew training costs, and increased pilot productivity.

¡§We are pleased to entrust CALYON as the manager, underwriter and security trustee for this financing case,¡¨ said Mr. Phillip Wei in the ceremony. ¡§Continuous support from banks is essential for our future growth.¡¨

Despite the current high fuel prices, China Airlines has managed to keep fuel costs low through hedging. As a result, CAL foresees solid growth in 2004, and expects to post an after tax profit of NT$ 3.1 billion for the year. The signing of this financing contract illustrates that China Airlines¡¦ financial performance and future prospects are highly regarded by international banks.

[Edited 2005-08-13 18:19:04]

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