How does an airline, when buying aircrafts, decide on which engine to use? In many cases, although there are several options to choose from, the engines do not differ much in their operating parameters.

As an example I would take the Boeing 757-200. This aircraft was able to be equipped with Rolls-Royce RB211 and Pratt&Whitney PW2000. Both engines have very similiar performance ratings and also do not differ much in their physical parameters (e.g. diameter, weight).

From this perspective, it seems to me, that engine decisions are mostly driven by business consideration (e.g. sales discounts, maintenance contracts...)?

  • $\begingroup$ I guess, as many equipment, maintenance expertise with the manufacturers products and financial/commercial agreement are important $\endgroup$
    – Manu H
    Commented Feb 7, 2020 at 11:31

1 Answer 1


I think you are answering your own question. It all boils down to money. Every factor of the aircraft buying process will be driven by money. They are, after all, a business. Some decision driving factors may include:

  • The acquisition cost.
  • The operating cost.
  • Fuel efficiency. Fuel costs the airline money
  • The reliability. Down time for the aircraft loses the airline money.
  • The liability. Is it going to breakdown midflight and cause death and lawsuits?
  • Manufacturer support. Will they get help if problems arise?
  • Is their an adequate supply chain of parts?
  • Airline’s specific history with that engine.
  • Does the airline already have mechanics certified and experienced for that engine?
  • Do they already have parts and spares of that engine?
  • It is easier to maintain only one type/model of engine across their fleet than several.
  • Tax incentives.
  • National loyalty for some airlines.
  • Brand loyalty for other airlines.
  • Kickbacks
  • TBO. Maintenance costs money.
  • Core resale value.
  • Possible advertisement opportunity.
  • Contractual agreements.
  • Politics (both internal and external)
  • Etc.

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