April 01, 2013
Credit: International Aero Engines
For the makers of an engine that should be entering its twilight years, times have never been so busy for International Aero Engines (IAE), the multinational consortium behind the V2500.
Production for the Airbus A320 family is at an all-time high, and as IAE marks its 30th anniversary, the venture's shareholders are studying plans to jointly market the V2500 and Pratt & Whitney's PW1100G, one of two engine choices for the reengined Airbus A320NEO. The move to sell the geared turbofan (GTF) through IAE, if agreed, would leverage the consortium's hard-won market presence to bolster Pratt's head-to-head contest with CFM International's Leap-1A.
“At this time, IAE's party companies are discussing opportunities for a future approach to the market for V2500 and PW1100G engines. The intent is to make any coordinated approach beneficial for customers,” the engine maker confirms. First mooted by Pratt President David Hess in 2011, the concept of marketing the engine under the IAE portfolio became increasingly viable in October that year when Rolls-Royce agreed to sell its 32.5% equity stake to Pratt for $1.5 billion. The revised IAE arrangement saw MTU's share grow to 16%, while Japanese Aero Engines (JAEC) retained its original 23% workshare; Pratt holds the balance.
Since then, Rolls transitioned to become a strategic supplier in 2012, with the final few Rolls personnel expected to move back to the U.K. from IAE's Connecticut headquarters by the third quarter this year. IAE has delivered more than 5,500 V2500s and, with almost 200 airline customers, has a broad penetration of the Airbus market sector being targeted by Pratt for its PW1100G. However, for the moment there are apparently no plans for IAE to front sales of other GTF versions which are in development to power platforms including Embraer's second-generation E-Jets, Bombardier's CSeries, the Mitsubishi Regional Jet and the Irkut MS-21.
IAE President Jon Beatty says: “The decision hasn't been made,” but adds that the idea “makes perfect sense. It's what Airbus wants and leasing companies will like that. The shareholders are working together to figure out how best we'd do that.” Pratt currently has around 1,150 PW1100Gs on firm order for the A320NEO, or slightly under half the overall market that has so far selected an engine. The first Pratt-powered NEO is due to enter service in October 2015.
The consortium is meanwhile gearing up to deliver more than 500 V2500s to the A320-family production lines in 2013, its busiest ever year. “We're breaking production records year-on-year,” says Beatty, who notes 450 were delivered in 2012 against some 420 the prior year. “This is the highest number we've done in the history of the program, and we expect over 500 to be delivered again in 2014. We expect to sell at least another 700 V2500s,” he adds. Rolls is set to continue building 50% of the engines for the next five years, with all final production of V2500s transitioning to Pratt's Middletown, Conn., facility, when combined volume drops below 250.
Following the restructuring of the consortium, the remaining IAE partners—Pratt & Whitney, MTU and JAEC—agreed to extend the collaboration to 2045. Although it does not expect to be still supplying V2500s to Airbus much beyond 2018, Beatty says the partners are committed for a steady 20-plus-year production run to support the Embraer KC-390 tanker-transport. The V2500E5 engine variant, which will be 95% common with the current V2500A5 Airbus engine, will be supplied at the rate of 20 per year to support Embraer's planned annual output of 10 KC-390s.