The commercial aircraft engine market is complex and highly lucrative, with orders and deliveries watched closely for clues about the health of the industry.

Farnborough International News Network has taken a look at the state of play in 2023; and how the splintering of the wide- and narrow-body sectors is affecting powerplant programmes now and in the future.

As of February 2023, there were approximately 27,000 in-service (both active and parked) narrowbody and widebody aircraft, comprising 20,000 narrowbodies and 7,000 widebodies, according to the CAPA Fleet Database.

Narrow- and wide-body fleet

Among the narrowbody fleet, 72 per cent are equipped with CFM engines, 25 per cent with P&W / IAE engines, and 3 per cent with Rolls-Royce engines.

Within the widebody fleet, 52 per cent are equipped with GE engines, 33 per cent with Rolls-Royce engines, 12 per cent with P&W engines, and the remaining 3 per cent split between Engine Alliance and CFM.

Turning to the engine order books, there are approximately 9,800 aircraft on order with known engine specification; 8,200 narrowbodies and 1,600 widebodies.

Some 85 per cent of the specified narrowbody backlog are ordered with CFM engines and 15 per cent with P&W engines.

The specified widebody backlog has 54 per cent ordered with GE engines, and 46 per cent with Rolls-Royce engines.

Pratt & Whitney controls a 70 per cent share of the 1,100 regional jet backlog, with 100 per cent market share on the 700+ large regional jets (Airbus A220 and Embraer E2).

Dominant position

“Rolls Royce maintains a dominant position on Airbus widebody aircraft, powering 63 per cent of the in-service fleet and comprising 100 per cent of the Airbus widebody backlog (A330neo and A350 family aircraft),” said Adam Guthorn, managing director of Alton Aviation Consultancy.

“RR, however, represents a much smaller share of the Boeing fleet and a very minor share of the Boeing widebody backlog.

“CFMI enjoys the exclusive position on the 737 family and leading market share on the A320 family – the two most popular and successful narrowbody aircraft programmes.”

High cost of developing new engine types

Trish Gray, a specialist engine management consultant and co-founder and managing director of TGIS Aviation, said: “General Electric (GE) and Rolls-Royce (R-R) are the major OEMs within the widebody market. In 2021, R-R held the largest order book with 51.5 per cent, but dropped behind GE in 2022, who held the majority with 52.7 per cent.

“This dominance of the two OEMs is principally due to the both engines being the exclusive engine choice on several aircraft; The R-R Trent 7000 and Trent XWB are offered with the Airbus A330 Neo and the A350 respectively whilst the GE90 and GE9X are exclusive to the later Boeing 777 fleet. These four engines alone account for 62.5 per cent of the current orderbook.”

She added: “The extremely high cost of developing new engine types has led to three major alliances in the narrow body and wide body market. The most successful of these is CFMI, a 50:50 joint venture between GE Aviation and Safran Aircraft Engines, whose CFM56-2A engine first entered service in 1982.

“Since this time, the alliance has delivered over 33,000 engines to the narrow body operators and as the only engine option for the classic, next generation and MAX Boeing 737 family, will continue to dominate this sector.

“International Aero Engines (IAE), a truly international consortium between Rolls-Royce (UK), Pratt and Whitney (PW) (US), MTU (Germany), JAEC (Japan) and Fiat (Italy), designed and developed the V2500 family of engines to compete against the CFM56-5B.

“The engine was successful within the market, with over 7,000 engines delivered, but was never developed beyond this commercial installation. The alliance continues to support the aftermarket for the installed engine, but its membership has reduced to PW, MTU and JAEC.”
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