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Rolls-Royce Reportedly Redesigning A350 Engines

Airbus Had Complained About R-R's Single-Engine Strategy For All A350 Models

Reports coming from the IATA conference in Singapore indicate that Rolls-Royce is set to build a new engine for the Airbus A350, a move said to be brought on by pressure from the European plane maker to make its composite-construction airliner competitive with Boeing's Dreamliner And 777-300ER.


A350 Computer Rendering

Reuters reports that Airbus wanted more powerful engines for its largest version of the A350, the -1000. They told the engine company that the same engine on all three versions of the new airplane would leave the largest of them at a competitive disadvantage with Boeing's long-haul aircraft. The -1000 is designed to take some of the market share from the B777-300ER. Two smaller models of the A350 are intended to take aim at the Dreamliner.

The wire service says that an an executive with an unnamed major A350 customer said at the IATA meeting in Singapore that his understanding was that Rolls-Royce would "build a new engine." The development process on a new powerplant generally runs in the $2 billion range.

Aircraft leasing entrepreneur Steven Udvar-Hazy said the move could lead to delays of the A350-1000. Airbus says it is on track for entry into service of the A350-900 by 2013.

But re-designing the engine will present some unique challenges to Rolls-Royce and Airbus engineers. The fan on the engine for the -1000 is said to be as large in diameter as the fuselage of the Concorde ... and to make it larger for the -1000 could mean alterations to the design of the largest of the A350 family.

Airbus also hopes that competition for the B777-300 could force Boeing to expend resources updating that aircraft, which would mean less going into a replacement to the workhorse 737.

FMI: www.rolls-royce.com, www.airbus.com

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