Tuesday, September 16, 2014
General Electric avoided using a geared design for its new engine for narrow-body jetliners because of concerns about weight and reliability, said a top GE executive on Monday. GE is battling with Pratt and Whitney for billions of dollars in engine orders. Pratt developed a geared turbofan that relies on a gearbox and lets the front fan operate at a different speed than the rest of the engine, while on GE's traditionally configured engines the fans run at the same speed. Through CFM International, a joint venture with France's Safran, GE is competing against Pratt for airlines that choose Airbus' new A320neo single-aisle plane. Both engines promise significant fuel savings, and Airbus buyers can choose the PW or CFM engine. CFM's LEAP, among other improvements, uses new materials designed to reduce weight and add durability. (Source: Reuters, 09/15/14) Gulf Coast note: Airbus is building an A320 final assembly line in Mobile, Ala.; GE has engine parts plants near Hattiesburg, Miss., and in Auburn, Ala.; the PW F135 engine powers the F-35 based at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.