Emirates orders 101 Engines from engine alliance

Emirates Airline has selected the Engine Alliance’s GP7200 engine to power the 23 Airbus A380s it ordered in Paris.

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By  Neil Denslow Published  December 30, 2003

Emirates Airline has selected the Engine Alliance’s GP7200 engine to power the 23 Airbus A380s it ordered in Paris. The US $1.5 billion deal, which was signed at the Dubai air show, follows Emirates’ 2002 deal to purchase GP7200 engines for its original order of 22 A380s. The Engine Alliance will supply 92 installed and nine spare engines to power the 21 A380s purchased by Emirates, as well as the two A380s to be leased from International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC). The deal, which was one of the worst kept secrets prior to Dubai 2003, left the Pratt & Whitney-GE Aircraft Engine (GEAE) coalition feeling extremely satisfied. “We are absolutely elated. It is particularly gratifying to be chosen again by Emirates because they are very well known for the technical evaluations of the products they choose. This deal is a second vote of confidence in the GP7200 family,” says Lloyd Thompson, president of the Engine Alliance. The deal brings the Alliance’s share of the A380 engine market to 62% — the first time that it has led in its two-horse race with Rolls-Royce. “At the Engine Alliance, we try to bring a value proposition to our customers. Rolls-Royce make very good engines, but perhaps we win in other areas,” comments Thompson. “We will always deliver [engines] on time and an airline of Emirates’ stature cannot afford late delivery. This deal is particularly gratifying because we know we are doing things right behind the scenes.” However, given Emirates’ previous GP7200 order and its involvement in the design of the engine, some wondered how much competition the Engine Alliance really faced. Sandy Morris, an ABN Amro analyst, for instance, told Bloomberg, that he had “the distinct impression that Rolls made no particular effort [to win the order].” Rolls-Royce, however, says it is disappointed not to have secured the order, and it highlights the fact that it is still a big supplier to Emirates. “This [is a] set-back for us, but Emirates is still a major customer with around 70 Rolls-Royce powered aircraft either already in service or on order,” says a spokesman. Emirates is the largest customer for the Airbus A380, having ordered or leased 45 A380 superjumbos. When the aircraft enters Emirates’ fleet in 2006, it will be the first airline to use the GP7200. Emirates has also played a key role in the development of the engine. “Emirates is fully committed to participating during the design and development of the engine. This working together will provide a great advantage to both the airline and the manufacturer,” says Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman of the Emirates Group. Alongside the Engine Alliance order, Emirates also announced an agreement with GEAE to design and construct a jet engine test facility in Dubai. Construction work on the 6000 m2 centre, which will have a 13 metre cross-section test chamber, is scheduled to begin in 2004, with completion targeted for 2006. The test facility has an indoor jet engine test stand complete with data acquisition systems and an engine ‘preparation to test’ area. The test stand will be capable of testing a wide array of jet engines, including the CFM56, the GP7200, the Rolls-Royce Trent series and the GE90. It will be able to test engines up to 150 000 lbs of thrust. “This project demonstrates the strong relationship and cooperation between Emirates and GEAE, and our commitment to contribute in developing technical capabilities in Dubai, says David Calhoun, president & CEO, GEAE. The centre also reflects Emirates’ ambitions to expand its operations into new areas and to further enhance its jet engine repair capabilities. “This facility will make Emirates unique in offering a test facility to a wide range of engines, including the highest thrust available today in the market,” says Adel Al-Redha, executive vice president of engineering & operations, Emirates Airline. “We are very proud to build the most advanced and unique test facility in the world in Dubai. This will reduce Emirates’ engine spare investment as well as generate extra revenue for the airline,” he adds.

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