Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Fallout in the US from the A380 Slowdown

The Hartford Courant has an interesting article on the subject of the GP7200 engine project for the A380. You will recall that the big Pratt/GE cooperative project was to develop and produce an option for operators who are not partial to the big Rolls Trent for various reasons.

At this juncture, all is not well with the program because of the lack of peristalsis over at Airbus. So far, 10 engines have been produced for test purposes. Plans are to deliver 12 engines in 2007 and 40 in 2008. Because Fedex had planned to use the big GP on its A380s, the cancellation of that order and the questionable status of others has produced a ripple effect all over the aerospace component sector and in particular the engine building world.

At this point there is a firm commitment for about 300 engines including spare units. However, as Phil Condit of Boeing said during the last aerospace implosion " When the customer comes to you and says 'I can't pay because I don't have any money', suddenly 'firm orders' don't mean very much."

However, money spent on engineering and product development is never wasted, and if the A380 program falls by the wayside, there's a lot of new technology that Pratt and GE can build on.


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