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How Important Is Engine Manufacturer To Airlines?  
User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1642 posts, RR: 2
Posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3726 times:

The recent discussion over new US A321's with V2500 engines when the rest of the Airbus narrowbody fleet there has CFM56's (just like LH AFAIK) got me thinking about this. IIRC DL has a mix of both PW4000 and CF6 76's, and obviously now with the 77L's Trent and GE90-powered 777's. I believe there may be a couple airlines with PW-powered 757's who use RR's on their 757-300's as well but I could be wrong here. In other words, do airlines ever make a decision solely based on engine manufacturer? For our purposes, I am interested if that is ever an overriding concern or just a preference issue (eg, ease of mx due to fleet commonality).

11 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePM From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 7001 posts, RR: 63
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3710 times:

It's hard to generalize.

BA ordered GE for their first 777s but then switched to RR. Air New Zealand ordered RR for their first 747-400s but then switched to GE. Thai had PW on their A330s but then ordered RR. China Southern A330s: RR then PW. UPS 757s: PW then RR. US Airways A330s: PW on their A333s but then RR on their A332s. JAL have PW on their 777s but GE on their 777-200ERs. TAM on their A330s: PW then GE then PW. And so on and so on.

Sometimes it's because the second engine is better. Sometimes it's because the second engine is better on a different version of the airliner. Sometimes it's because planes are leased.

As a rule, airlines would prefer to operate airliners with the same engine for ease of maintenance, training and operations. But if other factors outweigh this preference then they will, as we have seen, switch.

I think what is often overstated on A.Net is airlines' loyalty to certain engine makers. There are fewer cases now of that than there used to be. Airlines very correctly buy the best engine on offer.

But how they define "best" will vary.


User currently offlineHAL From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 2572 posts, RR: 53
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3691 times:



Quoting PM (Reply 1):
I think what is often overstated on A.Net is airlines' loyalty to certain engine makers.

Quite true. For an airline, it really all comes down to money. If you are going to outfit only a couple of planes with a different engine type it becomes much more expensive per plane because of the need for training, spares, etc. Yet it doesn't take a lot of planes to make it worthwhile to equip them with something different. For example, when Hawaiian bought four ex-DL 767-300's in 2006, they were equipped with GE engines. All of HA's 767's up to that point had P&W. Yet the extraordinarily low purchase price of the planes, and the fact that there were four of them, meant that it made economic sense to introduce the new engine type. From what I've heard from some of our engineering people at HA, if you have a fleet of roughly 10 or more aircraft in a sub-fleet, it really doesn't matter what engines you have on the planes because with that many of a type (or more), the costs don't amount to any more than if you had only one engine type across the fleet. In other words - it's all about the overall cost to the airline; and in many cases, multiple types of engines don't really make that much of a difference.

HAL



One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
User currently offlineLHCVG From United States of America, joined May 2009, 1642 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3681 times:



Quoting PM (Reply 1):
As a rule, airlines would prefer to operate airliners with the same engine for ease of maintenance, training and operations. But if other factors outweigh this preference then they will, as we have seen, switch.

I think what is often overstated on A.Net is airlines' loyalty to certain engine makers. There are fewer cases now of that than there used to be. Airlines very correctly buy the best engine on offer.

But how they define "best" will vary.



Quoting HAL (Reply 2):
From what I've heard from some of our engineering people at HA, if you have a fleet of roughly 10 or more aircraft in a sub-fleet, it really doesn't matter what engines you have on the planes because with that many of a type (or more), the costs don't amount to any more than if you had only one engine type across the fleet. In other words - it's all about the overall cost to the airline; and in many cases, multiple types of engines don't really make that much of a difference.

Those were my general thoughts as well from my outsiders' perspective. I figured it was an interesting question though given that airlines will sometimes make purchases of particular a/c based on brand.


User currently offlinePM From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 7001 posts, RR: 63
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3551 times:

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 3):
I figured it was an interesting question though

It is!

Quoting LHCVG (Reply 3):
given that airlines will sometimes make purchases of particular a/c based on brand.

Seldom just 'brand loyalty'. More often there are other factors. Historically, for example, BEA, BOAC and BA have tended to buy RR whenever possible. (In fact, BA choosing GE for their first 777s was a shocking blow to me from which I have never really recovered... )

Then we have AF's legendary attachment to GE because SNECMA was/is involved in most GE programs. (AF's insistence on CFM is the same but even more so; there was no CFM option on the A318 until AF lobbied very hard for one.)

Then we have the likes of RR+AA, RR+LH and RR+SQ owning joint overhaul enterprises. That may sway an airline's choice too.

Then we have political factors. Cathay really wanted DC-10s (with GE) but London leaned on them to take TriStars with RR. Saudi Arabian were well on their way to putting RR on their 777s till Washington leaned on them.

And so it goes.

[Edited 2009-09-02 03:00:21]

User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2037 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 8 hours ago) and read 3502 times:



Quoting PM (Reply 4):
Seldom just 'brand loyalty'. More often there are other factors. Historically, for example, BEA, BOAC and BA have tended to buy RR whenever possible. (In fact, BA choosing GE for their first 777s was a shocking blow to me from which I have never really recovered... )

It was a massive shock, indeed many thought it would knock RR out of the big fan market completely, until SQ then surprised everyone by by choosing RR on their 777s, as they were considered a 'PW' airline!

Quoting PM (Reply 4):
Then we have political factors. Cathay really wanted DC-10s (with GE) but London leaned on them to take TriStars with RR. Saudi Arabian were well on their way to putting RR on their 777s till Washington leaned on them.

CX subsequently seemed happy with the Rollers, as their TV adverts for a while boasted of their all RR engined fleet!

With outsourcing of engine maintenance (often to the manufacturer), commonality becomes less of an issue I guess...



it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
User currently offlinePM From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 7001 posts, RR: 63
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3408 times:



Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 5):
until SQ then surprised everyone by by choosing RR on their 777s, as they were considered a 'PW' airline!

I still rember where I was when I opened a copy of the FT and read that SQ had chosen RR...  cloudnine 

But in fact it was Thai who first saved the day and chose RR, soon followed by EK and others. NH had been about to sign for RR but bottled it and went for PW. I wonder if they've regretted that since...

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 5):
CX subsequently seemed happy with the Rollers

Oh, no doubt. And they've stuck with RR whenever there's a choice ever since. But they wouldn't have had their first RB211s without Michael Heseltine twisting their arm.

So it goes.

I still remember hearing that LH had chosen RR for their A380s. THAT was a sea change.


User currently offlineFruitbat From United Kingdom, joined Dec 2006, 552 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 3327 times:



Quoting PM (Reply 4):
In fact, BA choosing GE for their first 777s was a shocking blow to me from which I have never really recovered... 

I seem to remember that was connected with the sale of the BA Engine Overhaul base in Wales to GE....wheels within wheels.....also when BA went for RR with their second round of orders I remember a certain Mr T Blair being prominent at the announcement.....and 'twas ever thus!!

Quoting PM (Reply 6):
I still remember hearing that LH had chosen RR for their A380s. THAT was a sea change

Nothing to do with the N3EOS JV then  Wink

http://www.n3eos.com



Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel.
User currently offlineAirbusA6 From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2005, 2037 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3232 times:



Quoting PM (Reply 6):
But in fact it was Thai who first saved the day and chose RR, soon followed by EK and others. NH had been about to sign for RR but bottled it and went for PW. I wonder if they've regretted that since...

The SQ order stands out due to it's size and prestige, as reminding myself of the early T800 777 orders on the Boeing website, and adding the 'sarcastic commentary of the time'

Thai - erratic ordering policy, "given away by desperate RR"
CX - always order RR anyway
EK - small insigificant middle eastern carrier (where is Dubai anyway?)

SQ was in a different league to the previous orders.

Of course these days, with RR maintaining and soon to be assembling engines in Singapore, it would be a major shock if SQ didn't choose RR!

With many programmes now only having single source engine suppliers, I guess it's harder for airlines to be 100% behind an engine supplier. If GE don't choose to power the A350XWB, it will be fascinating to see if AF choose the GE powered 787 over the RR powered A350 Big grin



it's the bus to stansted (now renamed national express a4 to ruin my username)
User currently offlineLightsaber From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 13542 posts, RR: 100
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 3193 times:
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Quoting PM (Reply 1):
JAL have PW on their 777s but GE on their 777-200ERs.

JAL was mad at Pratt for not meeting promise on the PW4098. They didn't even seriously discuss with Pratt for the 77E order. That was a wake up call and a half at Pratt that a loyal customer didn't even call. Seriously... no interest in the PW4090. Zero.

Quoting PM (Reply 1):
But how they define "best" will vary.

An important distinction. e.g, for hot/high on the A330, its the Trent all the way. For cooler weather operators, the PW4170A has some merit.

Quoting PM (Reply 6):
NH had been about to sign for RR but bottled it and went for PW. I wonder if they've regretted that since...

I wonder too. Pratt has not had a good run...

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 8):
SQ was in a different league to the previous orders.

Pratt decided not to match RR's offer. I know they regret it now. But you are right in that the SQ offer started the perception that RR was a contender on the 777. Before then...  no  But with CX and SQ, the ball was rolling. (Ghad... A day when an EK order was nothing...)

Lightsaber



Societies that achieve a critical mass of ideas achieve self sustaining growth; others stagnate.
User currently offlinePM From Germany, joined Feb 2005, 7001 posts, RR: 63
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 3022 times:



Quoting Fruitbat (Reply 7):
Nothing to do with the N3EOS JV then Wink

Of I'm sure it's all wrapped up there somewhere. But I'm trying to recall the exact sequence of events. I could be wrong but...

...LH buy A346s with no choice but RR, then LH order A330s and forsake their long love affair with the CF6 in favour of Trent 700s, and then they choose Trent 900s for their A380s. Somewhere in there the JV was born but I can't remember just where or when.

Quoting AirbusA6 (Reply 8):
The SQ order stands out due to it's size and prestige

You're right, of course. That was the order when I flopped back in my chair and heaved a sigh of relief!

Then came AA and DL and we were on a roll.


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 26005 posts, RR: 22
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2854 times:

NW and JL were historically very strong P&W customers. The entire NW jet fleet was P&W for years, and I think the same was true for JL. McDonnell-Douglas even built the DC-10-40 (a -30 with P&W engines) due to NW and JL requirements for engine commonality with their P&W-powered 747s. They were the only 2 customers for the DC-10-40.

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