Re: UA 777

Date:         07 Dec 98 23:19:26 
From:         Chuanga@cris.com (H Andrew Chuang)
Organization: Concentric Internet Services
References:   1
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In article <airliners.1998.1805@ohare.Chicago.COM>,
Niraj Agarwalla  <niraj@shore.net> wrote:
>On 20 Nov 1998, MAC wrote:
>
>> Am I right in thinking that UA is suffering high costs because of 777
>> engine problems?
>>
>> Out of 8 flights in the last year I have had 4 delays or cancellations
>> because of engine related problems...am I unlucky or typical?
>
>  Every new aircraft types gets a few teething problems.  BA had big
>problems with their GE90-equipped 777s.  It got to the point that
>BA decided on the RR engines to equip their next batch of 777s.

I don't believe BA's choice of RR engines for the newly ordered B777s
is solely based on problems with the GE90.  On paper, the GE90 actually
has better reliability numbers than the Trent 800.  However, I believe
that's because GE is "babying" the engines in field.  BA cancelled 8
RR-powered B747-400s (IIRC) before ordering the new batch of 16
B777-200ERs.  BA would have to pay RR a significant penalty for the
cancelled RB.211 engine orders if they did not order the Trent for the
new B777s.  Furthermore, BA wanted 95K-lb thrust engines for the new
high gross weight B777.  RR had committed to developing the higher
thrust engines a few months before BA's latest B777 order while GE was
only willing to go up to 93K by updating the high-pressure compressor
(which was going to be done anyway even if BA did not order the GE90).
Also, BA has outsourced the B777 engine maintenance.  Thus, having two
engine types do not really add a lot of costs (as long as favorable
maintenance contracts have been negotiated).  Nevertheless, BA's switch
does hurt GE90's credibility and future viability.