and the winner is.....

From:         jmweber@goodnet.com (James Matthew Weber)
Date:         Fri, 09 Jul 1999 19:25:43 GMT
Organization: Shore.Net/Eco Software, Inc; (info@shore.net)
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It has been announced that the engine contract for the 777-200/-300X
has gone to General Electric.

I suspect there are several reasons this has happened:

1). By most accounts, the GE90 core is probably good for about 120,000
pounds thrust. The GE90 can get to the required 110-115,000 pound
thrust needed for these aircraft much more easily than the Trent, and
it was clear that a PW4000 design was a stretch to get to the
PW4098.Any larger engine was going to be a major exercise, and if
Boeing wanted an early in service date, a problem as well. My guess is
Boeing is about to come after the A340-500/600 with a vengeance, and a
competitive in service date was a requirement.

GE can probably  get there sooner and probably at lower cost than
either RR or PW. It is equally clear that there will probably be a
need for larger engines, and even at 110,000 to 115,000 pounds there
is still some growth left in the GE90. It is doubtful that there would
be anything left in a 110,000 pound Trent 800.

2). Fuel economy. The intended market for the 777X is very long range,
and the GE90 is the most fuel efficient engine in the sky today, and
GE promises further improvements in the 1-2% range. On an ultra long
range aircraft Fuel economy is serious business, and a 2% advantage in
fuel burn over a 7000 mile sector is BIG revenue over the life of the
airframe.

3). While the GE90 had a serious weight penalty relative to the
competition, as the thrust on the PW engines and on the RR engines has
been increased, this penalty has diminished. In fact the PW4098 and
GE90  weights are only a few hundred pounds different, and a very
large portion of the weight advantage the Trent 800 enjoyed over the
GE90 has also disappeared.

The combination of early delivery, good fuel economy, and competitive
engine shipset weight is tough to argue with.

The reported problems with the A340-500, and the improvements in the
Asian Economy suggest that  777X launch with an in service date very
close the A340-500/600 is probably very near. 

It will obviously raise the bar on the A3XX as well, as Airbus will
have to offer a substantial direct cost improvement relative to the
777X family, as opposed to the 747-400. The problem with very long
running programs is the goal posts tend to get moved, and I suspect
that is part of  the A3XX problem. My guess is that if A3XX is not
lauched before 777X, A3XX will never be launched in anything
resembling the current form..

No doubt all of  this is causing a certain level of anxiety at Airbus
Industries... 

My opinions anyway..