Heavy Lifting: GE Tech Powers World’s Largest Passenger Jet

August 23, 2013

Five years ago this month, the world’s largest passenger plane, the A380 double-decker, took off powered by four Engine Alliance jet engines. Engine Alliance is a joint venture between GE and Pratt & Whitney and the engines, called GP7200, combine the most advanced technology and materials from each of the company’s most successful jet engines, the GE90 and the PW4000. 

The GP7200 engine has outperformed projections and delivered better performance, including three separate improvements on fuel efficiency that equal to savings of about $11 million over the life of a single A380. Engineers have also shaved 200 pounds from each engine, or 800 pounds per aircraft.

Emirates, Air France, Korean Air and other airlines are operating the engines on 49 double-deckers. Other GP7200 customers include Air Austral, Etihad Airways and Qatar Airways. It total, airlines have picked the GP7200 engine to power 55 percent of all A380s. The manufacturer says that GP7200 engines have flown for more than 1.7 million hours and have a 99.9 percent departure reliability. Take a look at our A380 slideshow from the most recent Paris Air Show.

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The GP7200 is the quietest engine for the A380. It generates up to 81,500 pounds of thrust and has been tested up to 94,000 pounds of thrust. Credit: Adam Senatori

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Three separate fuel efficiency improvements mean that airlines can save about $11 million over the life of a single A380. Credit: Adam Senatori

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The GP7200 contains a “hot section” developed for the GE90. Credit: Adam Senatori