Why Did These Airlines Change Engine Types?

Thu Dec 30, 1999 10:36 am

Does anyone know why the following airlines changed engine types on the same family/type of aircraft?

I don't know, but maybe you out there do!

Condor B757
Their 757-200s have PW2037 engines but their 757-300s have Rolls Royce RB211-535E4 engines. They did have a 757-200 with RB211 engines (D-ABNX) but they got rid of it!

British Airways B777
They changed from the GE90 to the Rolls Royce Trent. Some people have said it's because they cancelled some 747 orders. Even if they did, surely the penalties would work out less than introducing a totally new engine to the airline, operating the 777 with 2 different engine types and the associated engineering costs over the lifetime of the fleet?

Monarch A320/A321
Monarch's A320s have CFM engines, when they ordered A321s they took them with IAE V2500 engines. Operating 2 engine types in a small fleet of 8 aircraft can't make sense. It's the reason Air 2000 just ordered 5 CFM powered A320s to replace 4 V2500 engined ones so they fit in with the airlines CFM powered A321s

Lufthansa A319/A320/A321
This is a really strange one! Lufthansa ordered it's A320s with CFM engines. A few years later it ordered it's A321s with IAE engines. What about when it came to choosing an A319 engine? Thats it, Back to CFM. Why?

Delta B767
Their 767-200s have GE engines. Their early 767-300 deliveries have P&W engines, now they're taking delivery of 767-300s with GE angines and their 767-400s will have GE engines too.

Their early 757PFs have PW2040s but then they ordered 75 with Rolls Royce engines!

ATA B757
ATA buit up a P&W powered 757 fleet in the early 1990s and then replaced them all with RB211 powered machines!

Air New Zealand B747-400
Their 747s have always been powered by RR engines. Recently they have taken both new and used 747-400s with GE engines, yet another airline operating one fleet with 2 totally incompatible engine types

Qantas B767
Their 767-200s are P&W powered, but their 767-300s have GE engines

These obviously aren't serious questions, but if anyone can put forward explanations for these changes, I'd be greatful. Or maybe someone has a more general idea as to why an airline would want to operate a mixed engined fleet or replace it's aircraft with identical ones with different engines?


(I already posted this under another heading which didn't make sense, as a result it only got read 11 times. My apologies if you have already read this!)

RE: Why Did These Airlines Change Engine Types?

Thu Dec 30, 1999 10:58 am

I can answer the question about Delta and their 767s - all domestic 767-200s and 767-300s have General Electric engines. But all Delta 767-300ER aircraft have the Pratt & Whitney engine. There is a simple reason for this; reliability. The P&W engine is better than the GE engine for overwater flights, as has been shown by years of experience within the airline.

Also, Delta have exactly the same P&W engines on their MD-11s so that their entire intercontinental fleet (except for the new 777s) have PW4000 engines.

Also the reason for BA changing from GE -> RR is because the GE90 was found to have serious 'teething troubles' when introduced... (BA was one of the launch customers for the GE engine) - such problems that the RR engine did not have, so they changed from one to the other to increase reliability - a wise choice, as has been shown in service. Also, if a British airline did not buy British engines, who would be left to do so?

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RE: Why Did These Airlines Change Engine Types?

Thu Dec 30, 1999 11:00 am

I'll try to answer some of the questions based on my knowledge.
1. Condor. RR is the only engine type that's available on the 757-300. PW engine was not tested/certified.

2. BA. Politics and poor decision making. I don't know why they chose GE at the beginning. Maybe they thought they were getting the newest technology by buying GE90. But ETOPS certification for GE90 was delayed and BA can't use 777 on routes it planned to use. So I assume BA was disappointed. Then there must be political pressure to buy RR.

3. Monach, 4. LF. Don't know. Seems really strange to me.

5. DL 767. Actually, DL's 767s on the domestic flights use GE CF6 while the ones on the international routes use PW. It's because at the time of decision PW had gained ETOPS while GE was not. So the discrepancy.

6. UPS. They also operate A-300 freighters with GE and PW engines. They don't seem to mind having mixed engine in their fleet. Strange.

7. ATA. I think they lease their planes and subcontract out engine maintenance work. So it depends on the leasor's inventory. But it also has less impact on its overall cost.

8. NZ. 9. QF. Don't know.

Now I have a question, too. Is it possible to mount an GE as #1 engine and PW as #2? Would it work?
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Joined: Thu Jul 01, 1999 12:45 am

RE: Why Did These Airlines Change Engine Types?

Thu Dec 30, 1999 11:20 am

My theories on a some changes:
1.) Condor 757-300. Since Condor was the launch customer for
the 753, RR offered a much better price to be the launch
customer. The lower purchase price of the RR may offset any
the higher spares costs of the new engine.
2.) Delta 767-400. I think that Delta was miffed at P&W since
Delta and P&W (with United) competed for a C-17 long term engine
maintenance contract (the F-117 engine really a PW2040, with a
titanium nacelle). P&W won the Air Force award, and Delta showed its
displeasure by awarding the 764 engines to GE.
3.) UPSW. They may have changed to the RR engines on their newest
757's, as they were negotiating for RR Tay's for their 727-100 re-
engining, and RR lowered their prices on the RB211-535 substantially
to get the 757 business. Note that UPS probably gets the best pricing,
because they use GE CF6-80's on their 767F, but ordered PW4158's on
their new A300's. Should UPS order the 744F, who knows which engine
they will order.
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Joined: Tue Nov 23, 1999 3:51 am

777 Engine Choices

Thu Dec 30, 1999 11:31 am

I have posted this before but it still cracks me up the BA ordered the trip7 with GE's and AA ordered their's with Trents.

To DLMD-11

Thu Dec 30, 1999 11:32 am

Your point about Delta flying GE powered 767s on domestic routes and P&W powered 767s on overwater flights stands up - to a point.

Haven't the new 767-400ERs got GE engines?
According to JP Airline fleets the powerplant is the GE-CF6-80C2B7F. Exactly the same engine as on the 767-300ER!

Now Delta's decision doesn't quite make sense. Could there be another reason?
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Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 4:41 am

RE: To DLMD-11

Thu Dec 30, 1999 11:44 am

There were rumors within Delta that both Delta and P&W had it out over the engines on the MD-88, due to the fact that they have had numerous problems with them. Thats why the 737-800 was ordered to quickly replace some of the aging MD-88's with the older engines due to reilability problems.

RE: Why Did These Airlines Change Engine Types?

Thu Dec 30, 1999 7:22 pm

Interesting article and I think I have some comments to make on some airlines, particularly British Airways and Air New Zealand. As an aviation analyst, I believe the following facts are true:

British Airways was forced by its shareholders to use the Rolls Royce engines on their Boeing 777 aircrafts as many shareholders were annoyed with the fact that the airline chose GE 90 engines and GE is American company. Typical English - sticking by the Rolls Royce engines. I agree with the Brits! If the airline has been using RR engines on 747-400's, 757, 767, some 747-200, it would make sense to also use it on the 777. It was the shareholders that pushed BA to make this change and you can read this in the AGM report.

Air New Zealand purchased the original Boeing 747-400's in RR engines in early 90's but due to pilots action on this new aircraft, they were leased to Cathay Pacific for a short period of time. Also, the RR powered 747-400's were common with that of other 747-200 aircrafts which also had RR engines but different model. The reason for change was to common rate the manufacturers engines within the fleet as NZ also flies Boeing 767-200 and -300 aircrafts using GE engines.


Thu Dec 30, 1999 9:32 pm

If as you say the engines are both, then I apologize. However, the MD-11s and 767ERs that I've been on have P&W engines..... and the only 767-200 I have been on (Spirit) has GE engines.

However, I apologize if I got it wrong.....

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RE: DL-767s

Thu Dec 30, 1999 11:58 pm

While I don’t know all of the reasons for the Delta changes in Engine providers on the 767 here are the facts about the current fleet.

Total of 15 aircraft delivered between 10/82 and 2/84 all powered by GE CF6-80A

Total of 28 aircraft
24 delivered between 11/86 and 5/92 powered by GE CF6-80A2
4 Two delivered in 6/93 & 7/93 and 2 originally schedule for delivery in ’93 but actually delivered 10/98 and 5/99 powered by P&W 4060. These were ordered after the choice to power the 332ER with P&W. So it looks like the intent was to change to P&W for all future orders.

767-332ER, –3P6ER, and –324ER
Total of 51 aircraft
31 -332ER delivered between 6/90 and 4/98 powered by P&W 4060
13 –332ER delivered between 6/98 and 6/99 powered by GE CF6-80C2B6F
6 -3P6ER acquired from Gulf Air between 2/98 & 6/98 powered by GE CF6-80C2B4
1 -324ER leased from GECA about 7/98 powered by GE CF6-80C2B7F

On Order
21 767-432ER to be powered by GE
8 767-332ER to be powered by GE

It may be true that the original change to P&W was due to the idea of having the same engine platform for both the 767-332ER and MD-11. It would also appear that the decision to order domestic –332s with P&W flowed from that.

While I don’t have a clue to the reason for decision to switch back to GE on the 767-332ER, I can guess that it may have something to do with the engine choice for the –432ER. Other reasons could include the decision to eventually replace the MD-11 or better performance (maintenance or fuel economy or both) of the GE engines.

I don’t believe that there is anything to the decision being based on a C-17 contract being lost to P&W. They are still buying 757s with PW2037s.

Just my $.02.

Great Pooh
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RE: Why Did These Airlines Change Engine Types?

Fri Dec 31, 1999 1:21 am

SABENA, a long buyer of GE has since switched to PW due to their intimate relationship with the SAir Grouping, including SAir Technic, which does engine work for SR and SN. In order for SABEnA to be able to send their a/c to Zürich for engine repair, they had to switch engine types, as SR couldn't do a thing for their GE engines. So SN's A330 are all PW powered, whereas almost all of their fleet is/has been GE/CFM Int'l.

« On ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux » Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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Fri Dec 31, 1999 1:41 am

Excellent post! As you point out, DL has an interesting mix of engines on the 767's.
A few years ago, some of the upper maintenance management folks had a meeting
for the employee's and I remember that they expressed their displeasure with P&W.
The P&W 2000's on the 757 were not as reliable or long lasting as the RR RB211-535's. On the 767ER's, the PW engines require more preventive maintenance
than the GE engines. Every night, you can spend a couple of hours inspecting
the PW for loose/broken hardware. So far, the GE's don't seem to need as much
work. Just my thought's. Happy New Year everbody!

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