When it comes to having a competitive average sometimes sacrificing work is just what it takes and General Electric (GE) proved to do just that as it landed a partnership with Boeing research to build the engines for its next generation of aircraft. Let's take a look at the aircraft and how General Electric won Boeing over.
The Boeing 777 Series Aircraft
The Boeing 777 (BA) is a long range wide body twin jet engine airliner that has the capacity to hold between (300 - 550) people, depending on which version we talk about. It was originally designed to replace the older wide body models 767 and 747. It also was the first entirely computerized commercial aircraft. The 777X will have two derivative plane designs: (777 - 200 X and 777 - 300 X) and the estimated market for these planes will be about 500. As airlines move to more "frequent" nonstop flights between cities to save money, both these planes will serve the airlines well.
777 - 200 X
This model is designed to be the longest range commercial airplane ever flown. It would fly 1200 miles farther than its old sister the 777 - 200 ER and have a total range of 10,100 statute miles. It would be the same size as the 777 - 200 and able to carry up to 300 passengers in three passenger classifications.
777 - 300 X
This model considered a good replacement for the old 747s. In 1998 the 777 - 300 entered the markets, but its new sister replacement will be able to travel about 1800 miles further (8300 statute miles). They would be the same size but this new plan would be able to carry up to 360 passengers and three passenger classifications.
The Battle for the Engine
Boeing decided to work solely with GE on the new version of its 777 engine which should be in service in the next five years. The 777X airplane would be larger and more efficient than its present parent version and would also have wings made of composite carbon-fiber. This is a good deal for GE also as it is estimated at $25 billion over a 20 year period. The engine that GE is working on would replace its GE 90 engine (with the GE90-115B) and be 10% more fuel-efficient with 100,000 pounds of thrust.
About a year ago, Boeing decided to open up the playing field and allow a three-way competition between GE, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt and Whitney for its 777 - X series engine for its jets. The competition is expected to drive down costs as all three engine makers pursue different avenues but the goals are the same: more efficiency in burning fuel and emissions.
It was just in the last six months that Rolls-Royce was pretty confident in its chance to work with Boeing on this engine because they were the only engine maker that had an optimized engine on three of the latest engine programs for three different aircraft including Airbus and Boeing. With Boeing the company's Trent 1000 engines powered Boeing's 787 Dreamliner; (Its Trent 800 already had a 45% share of the 777 engine market). The engine had no problems and Rolls-Royce believed this trusting relationship with Boeing would give them an advantage over the other two. I can understand why Rolls-Royce thought this; Boeing's original 777 models were powered by all three competitive companies while Rolls-Royce had a majority of the engine order shares.
It appears a trump card was played by GE that put it over the edge as GE offered to substantially contribute to the developmental costs of the 777X derivative airliners. While the other two made no such offer, GE wanted exclusive rights to engine development because it knew it would avoid a labor-intensive three-way battle for the contract. Smart move by General Electric makes them $25 billion.