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Emirates orders GP7000 to power Airbus A380s

Emirates<.> Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding with the GE-P&W Engine Alliance for the…

Emirates<.> Airlines signed a memorandum of understanding with the GE-P&W Engine Alliance for the GP7000 engine family to power its 22 firm and 10 option Airbus A380-800 aircraft.

Emirates` Chairman, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, signed the Memorandum of Understanding to buy the engines, which have a list price, including options, of approximately $1.5 billion. (Dhs 5.5 billion). Lloyd Thompson, President of the Engine Alliance, signed for the Partnership.

Sheikh Ahmed said: As Emirates grows to become a truly global airline, we need an engine to power our future A380 flagship over the world`s biggest air routes. After exceptionally exhaustive studies of the various engines on offer, we have selected the Engine Alliance GP7000 as the one best suited to our present and future network.

The GP7000 proudly bears the pedigree of two world leaders in engineering, and its specification, projected performance and price combined to convince us that it is the best deal for Emirates – technically, operationally and commercially.
Comprehensive negotiations are now taking place between Emirates and the Engine Alliance to finalise the GPA.

Emirates` order is for GP7270 engines, rated at 70,000 pounds (311 kN) of thrust, to power its 20 passenger versions of the A380-800 aircraft and GP7277 engines, rated at 76,500 (340 kN) pounds of thrust, to power the two freighters the airline has ordered.

Emirates was the world`s first airline to place firm orders for the A380 and the first to put down a deposit, making its commitment at Britain`s Farnborough Air Show. The airline now becomes the second customer for the GP7000 family, following Air France`s launch order for 10 firm aircraft in May 2001.

At last year`s Dubai Air Show, Emirates unveiled a stunning US$15 billion fleet expansion, increasing its A380 order to 22 plus 25 new Boeing 777s, eight A340-600s and three A330s – a total of 58 aircraft and the largest order ever placed by the airline.

With the Emirates selection, the Engine Alliance`s GP7000 engine family has become the order-leading engine on the A380 among airline customers, with 32 firm aircraft.

Emirates expects deliveries of its A380s to start from September 2006. By then, as one of the world`s fastest-growing, most profitable and innovative airlines, Emirates expects to be flying more than twice as many passengers as currently to all five continents, with the super-jumbo A380 operating the world`s major routes from Dubai to Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America. Sheikh Ahmed has described the Airbus A380 as the aircraft of tomorrow, whose time has come today.

Lloyd Thompson, President of the Engine Alliance, said: The selection continues the success story of the Engine Alliance. GE Aircraft Engines and P&W are setting new standards with this joint venture, and we couldn`t be happier with our progress..

David Calhoun, President and Chief Executive Officer of GE Aircraft Engines, commented: We are extremely pleased that Emirates has chosen the Engine Alliance to power their A380 aircraft. The Engine Alliance has a terrific engine for this aircraft and the team is looking forward to working closely with Emirates on this program.

Louis R. Chenevert, President of Pratt & Whitney, added: Emirates has picked a truly great engine in the GP7000 family. It combines the best technologies of two world leaders in propulsion to give the airlines outstanding value on their A380s.

The GP7000 offers the best combination of reliability and value, and is designed to deliver the lowest cost of ownership from service entry. Its performance will support the long-range missions of the A380, while achieving outstanding time on-wing.

The GP7000 benefits from the heritage of the GE90 and PW4000 families, which have accumulated 5.5 million hours in commercial service. The GP7000 has taken the base provided by these outstanding products, and added technology for customer benefit.

The Engine Alliance has already begun development and verification testing, including two development core assemblies. GP7000 component tests are ongoing, with the third development core slated to go to test early next year as part of the GP7000 strategy to continually improve performance and mature technology.

The Engine Alliance began aerodynamic rig tests of the two-stage high-pressure turbine (HPT) in January 2002 and will follow with annular combustor sector rig tests to evaluate emissions and altitude relight characteristics.

The Engine Alliance is also developing an improved disk powder alloy and will conduct a technology demonstration of noise-reduction chevron nozzles. If successful, the Engine Alliance will incorporate further aero refinements from a third core test in early 2003.

The Engine Alliance will begin detailed engine design in December of 2002 and will run the first full engine test in second quarter 2004. Current plans call for the type design to accumulate over 23,000 endurance cycles and 7,200 hours of operation on eight test engines prior to entry into service, exceeding normal standards for ETOPS-qualified engines. The Engine Alliance will run 9,000 cycles of testing beyond what is required for engine certification.

Pratt & Whitney has successfully tested a 42-percent-scale GP7000 swept fan blade design on Pratt & Whitney`s Advanced Technology Fan Integrator (ATFI) demonstrator engine. Derived from three million hours of service experience on the PW4000-powered Boeing 777, the GP7200 hollow titanium fan blade with swept aerodynamics will have the same durability as the PW4000 fan blade. The new blade design allows the Engine Alliance to deliver the quietest and best performing engine for the A380.

The GP7200 is scheduled to be certified at 81,500 pounds takeoff thrust by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA) of the European Economic Community in mid-2005. First flight on the A380 is scheduled for January 2006, followed by entry into service later that year.

Within the GE-P&W Engine Alliance, Pratt & Whitney is responsible for the fan, low pressure compressor, low pressure turbine, and accessory gearbox modules, and GE Aircraft Engines is responsible for the engine core (high-pressure compressor (HPC), combustor, and HPT) and control system modules.

Photo: HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Emirates` Chairman (centre), and Lloyd Thompson, President of the Engine Alliance (left) pictured after the signing. With them is Tim Clark, Emirates` Chief Director (Airline).