Engine switch (Was Re: Boeing designations)

From:         h andrew chuang <chuang_hsin@ae.ge.com>
Date:         07 Jan 94 23:22:59 PST
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Karl Swartz wrote:

> I've found switching of engine vendors rather interesting, as it's a
> very costly thing to do and in many cases it's not clear why.  Here
> are a handful of examples:
>    Malaysia 747-4H6 (GE CF6-80, then PW PW4056)
>	I seem to recall someone mentioning that this was mostly a
>	political decision.  To make matters worse, their lone 747-3H6
>	came with JT9D engines, and they have a pair of ex-BA 747-236s
>	with Rolls-Royce RB.211 engines!  With four completely different
>	engine types *just* on their 747 fleet their maintenance costs
>	must be incredible.

(I always have the burning desire to ask MAS pilots and engineers which
 engine is the best!  :-)

Foreign carriers, especially Asian, seem to switch engine vendors (due to
political reasons as well as other factors) more often than the U.S.
airlines.  Another example was Thai International's switching from the
CF6-80C2 to the PW4158 for its A300B4-600 planes. I seem to remember the
reason was because the Thai government believed that P&W had more influence
and connection with the U.S. Congress than GE.  It was a government decision
rather than an airline decision.

Nonetheless, both the Malaysian and Thai orders were relatively small.
The most significant vendor switch has to be Japan Airlines' order of the
B747-400 with the CF6-80C2 engines.  Before 1989, JAL operated an all-Pratt
fleet.  Since then, JAL has been fluttering between GE and P&W: its MD-11's
are powered by the PW4460, and its new B767's will be powered by the
CF6-80C2.  It will be interesting to see which engine JAL will choose for
its B777's.  

Another one worth mentioning was Lufthansa's switch from the IAE V2500 to
CFM56 before they took the delivery of its A320's.  Later, Lufthansa went
back to the V2500 when they ordered the A321.  (Perhaps, it was politically
motivated because of MTU's involvement in IAE???)

>    UPS 757-24A PF (PW PW2040, switch to RR RB.211-535 in 1994)
>	The RB.211 has about two-thirds of the 757 market and claims
>	to have better fuel burn than the PW2000; perhaps this swayed
>	UPS.

Rolls claims to have 75% of the 757 market in its ads, but I'm not sure if
it meant current sales or total market.  Also, Rolls was (is?) trying to
convince the U.S. Air Force to switch from the F-117 (Air Force designation
of the PW2000) to the RB211-535E for the McDonnell Douglas C-17 transport.

> (Most consistent on a diverse fleet must surely be Cathay Pacific,
> which until the A340s arrive will be exclusively Rolls-Royce.)

Cathay played an important role in "re-launching" the RB211-524.  It was
Cathay's B747-400 order that resulted in the termination of Rolls' agreement
with GE to develop engines over 5?,000-lb thrust.  Perhaps, that is one of
the reasons why Cathay and Rolls made a concerted marketing effort of
promoting Cathay's all-Rolls fleet.  However, there were some much much
larger all-Pratt carriers such as the pre-B747-400 JAL, pre-A320 Northwest
(with the exception of a few CF6-powered DC-10-30's that NW acquired in the
late 80's[?]).  Currently, Singapore still operates an all-Pratt
passenger-fleet (it has been operating one B737-300 freighter since late
1992).  I can think of a few other all-Pratt airlines as well as some
all-GE/CFM carriers, but they all are relatively small.  

P.S.: Just an unimportant observation of Cathay's A340 order (unless you are
      a "Cathay-freak"): Cathay made the A340 order shortly after the
      reorganization of its Board that resulted in the retirement of its
      long-time engineering director who played an important role in
      committing Cathay to an all-Rolls fleet.