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Airbus is planning to roll out an Airbus A320neo to replace its current A320 model, and they will offer this option on other models too.

How does adding more options for engines for potential customers act as an advantage for the Aircraft Manufacturer? Why wouldn't the manufacturer optimize its plane for one engine specifically, to give best performance and roll out the plane like that?

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  • $\begingroup$ I removed the "airbus-neo" tag based on this meta post: meta.aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/1597 and this: meta.aviation.stackexchange.com/questions/1592 $\endgroup$ – Federico Jun 5 '15 at 7:04
  • $\begingroup$ I'm creating airbus-neo tag (with wiki glossary), because: 1. Airbus plans to roll NEO for other planes as well 2. A-319, A-321 are more closely related than A-320ceo and A-320-neo Thanx for pointing out though :D $\endgroup$ – Victor Juliet Jun 5 '15 at 7:17
  • $\begingroup$ before creating it, given those meta posts, ask if it is appropriate/desired. I expect not. $\endgroup$ – Federico Jun 5 '15 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ posting the question there :) $\endgroup$ – Victor Juliet Jun 5 '15 at 7:27
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    $\begingroup$ People, in general (Americans in particular), like choice. Whether one option is clearly better than the other, or both are equally good, quality marketing demands that consumers be given a choice so they feel that it was their decision, and not something forced on them. Since Airbus' goal is to sell aircraft, if they can make the purchaser feel better about the purchase of an A320neo instead of a B738 (for example), they're likely to sell more. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Jun 5 '15 at 13:31
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How does adding more options for engines for potential customers act as an advantage for the Aircraft Manufacturer?

There are a couple of ways of looking at this

  • Why new options?
  • Why multiple options

Change

The A320 has been around a while, engines have improved a lot and newer types of engine exist now that were not available before, even though the A320 type airframe is still competetive.

According to Airbus, new choice of engines allow for

  • Lower fuel costs
  • Lower maintenance costs

Airbus is working on offering a new engine for the A320 known as the New Engine Option (NEO). The choice for new engines include the CFM International LEAP-X and the Pratt & Whitney PW1400G/PW1500G. The new engines will burn 16% less fuel: the actual fuel gain on an A320 installation will be slightly less, since 1-2% is typically lost upon installation on an existing aircraft. Airbus CEO said to be "comfortable" with the projections of 20% lower maintenance cost for the Pratt & Whitney's PW1000G family, compared with today's engines.

From Airbus

Choice

Speculating a little:

The people who buy and operate aircraft like having a choice of engine manufacturers. It helps keep the engine market competitive and it means they can, if they want, operate a range of aircraft all using engines from one maker - potentially allowing for savings in engine maintenance infrastructure.

Aircraft operators sometimes don't actually buy engines with their aircraft, they buy thrust from an engine maker and the engine maker (effectively) install their engines on the operators aircraft. The engines might remain the property of the maker.

It may also be that aircraft makers don't wish the future of their aircraft to be tied to a single supplier of engines. It makes negotiating harder and it makes their future prosperity dependent on the continued existence of one manufacturer.

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  • $\begingroup$ +1 asset ownership costs are a significant expense for airlines and the savings to be gained from a well-structured lease or financing deal can outweigh the savings provided by an airframe/power plant combo that's been optimized to the nth degree. $\endgroup$ – habu Jun 5 '15 at 14:49
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How does adding more options for engines for potential customers act as an advantage for the Aircraft Manufacturer?

The primary reason for adding a new engine option is to increase performance. As technology improves, engines get more efficient, so putting new engines on a plane can substantially improve the efficiency of the plane. Both the LEAP-1A and PW1000G engines offered on the A320neo claim a 15% fuel burn reduction.

The primary reason for offering multiple engine options is to give the customer choice. Each engine has slightly different thrust, fuel burn, weight, and maintenance requirements. Some airlines may want to stick with certain engine manufacturers to simplify maintenance.

Why wouldn't the manufacturer optimize its plane for one engine specifically, to give best performance and roll out the plane like that?

Sometimes they do. The 737, since the Classic series, has only had the CFM56 engine option. The new 737 MAX will only have the CFM LEAP option. Business jets will also tend to only have one engine option. The 777X in development plans on only offering the GE9X engine.

The challenge is not really in optimizing the plane for one engine. Most of the plane doesn't care much what kind of engine is on it. Although there will be some points of compromise, the parts that are specific to one engine type can be designed separately, and installed based on which option the customer chooses. Creating designs for more engines is more work, which the manufacturer will have to weigh based on the benefit that more options will offer.

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Well, let's take a look, what are the advantages of having a choice of engine?

The A320neo is set to offer engines from two different manufacturers: the CFM International Leap 1A, and the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G. These families of engines are designed to be more fuel-efficient, and what ever more "efficients" there are.

How does adding more options for engines for potential customers act as an advantage for the Aircraft Manufacturer?

Let's take a look at this: My friend lives in New York, my cousin lives in Amsterdam, I live in Toronto. What happens if I want to visit any of them, what happens if I want to see all of them? That would be some very expensive flights...

Airlines don't want a wide variety of things in their inventory either. Take a look at maintenance. Some people can work on one engine, while other people can't. Then, you might have unfamiliar technologies. There would be a lot of change, I'd need different people for each engine. That would be very costly too.

For airlines that already have a "predominant" engine in their inventory, they'd want to stick to it. They're familiar with the technology, the basic systems, and they have engineers who can work on this too. This is why many airlines stick to a sole engine manufacturer, or more importantly, a single airplane manufacturer.

Having different choices means you can serve a wider market. If I see that I can get this plane with my favourite engine, it's a double win! :)

Why wouldn't the manufacturer optimize its plane for one engine specifically, to give best performance and roll out the plane like that?

Many manufacturers already do. If you were to look at the Bombardier CSeries, the exclusive engine is the PW1100G. Engines aren't the biggest part. If an engine can do it's job, deliver fuel efficiency and so on... Then why shouldn't we have it as an option? If it's feasible to have more than one engine on a plane, then they'll go for it.

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