GE’s claimed advantage over the Trent 1000 comes as it monitors the early performance figures from the first eight engines in service with JAL. Meanwhile, the FAA certificated the 75,000-lb.-thrust variant of its GEnx-1B PIP1 (product improvement package) upgrade on June 14. The engines already in service with JAL are also built to the PIP standard certificated in August 2011, but are rated at a lower thrust level.
PIP1 was designed to improve fuel burn by around 1.6% compared to the baseline GEnx-1B, although the latest in-service data suggest this may have been conservative. PIP1 included a new low-pressure turbine, a revised control schedule and hot section upgrades. GE is currently developing a second PIP package which is aimed at an additional 1.1%.
The upgrade builds on PIP1 and adds 0.5-in. to the fan diameter, optimized outlet guide vanes, improved high-pressure compressor aerodynamics, upgrades to the low-pressure compressor and durability enhancements to the combustor and high-pressure turbine. The second PIP will be certificated in the fourth quarter of this year and will enable thrust growth to 78,000 lb.
GE also is ramping up production of both GEnx-1B and -2B engines to support accelerating delivery rates at Boeing of 787s and 747-8s, respectively; Chuck Nugent, the general manager of GEnx programs, says rate increase is two to three times that of previous large engine programs such as the CF6-80C2 and GE90-115B. Approximately 150 GEnx engines will be delivered this year, rising to more than 200 in 2013 and eventually 300 annually in coming years. Roughly 1,300 GEnx powerplants have been sold to-date, and with more than 250 787s yet to be allocated an engine, GE says the competition is intensifying. GE is “still early in the program, so we expect this is just the start,” says Nugent.