Emirates Airline to replace GE-Pratt & Whitney with Rolls-Royce as engine supplier

Emirates Airline is expected to announce that it will take Rolls-Royce engines for up to 50 of its A380 aircraft, replacing the previous supplier GE-Pratt & Whitney, a source familiar with the matter told The National.

Emirates will buy the Rolls-Royce-made Trent 900 to power the superjumbos it ordered from Airbus at the Dubai Airshow in November 2013, the source said.

After the deal, Emirates will operate its A380 fleet, the world’s largest, with a mix of Trent 900s and GE-Pratt Whitney’s Engine Alliance GP7200s.

Emirates and Rolls-Royce declined to comment.

Emirates will hold a press conference in London on Friday, where Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, its chairman, and Tim Clark, its president, are expected to announce the multibillion dollar engine deal.

Emirates currently operates 59 double-deckers and has 81 more on order, worth US$135 billion, according to the airline.

The superjumbo flies to 33 destinations including London Heathrow, Los Angeles, and New York JFK. On Thursday, Emirates announced the launch of a second daily A380 service to London’s Gatwick Airport.

Emirates has been challenging manufacturers to develop a more fuel-efficient engine for its A380s. Rolls-Royce says its Trent 900 “delivers the lowest lifetime fuel burn and has excellent environmental attributes”. However, the GP7200 has had a marginally better performance compared to the Trent 900 until now, according to reports.

Emirates has said that it could order 100 additional A380 aircraft if a better engine is developed making use of next generation “neo” technology.

The Airbus A380 is the world’s biggest passenger aircraft meeting demand for greater capacity from fast-growing airlines such the Gulf carriers. The hub model of Gulf airlines helps to fill the A380 superjumbo aircraft.

This month, Emirates said it would operate an A380 on its Dubai-Copenhagen route, utilising a larger two-class configuration, giving it capacity for 615 seats.

Etihad and Qatar Airways both started operating the A380 for the first time last year.


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