SINGAPORE, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Airbus is exploring fresh ways to improving sales of the world’s largest passenger jet after receiving a potentially key signal of support from at least one of its engine makers, industry sources said.
Faced with patchy demand for the A380 superjumbo, Britain’s Rolls-Royce has indicated it may be willing to upgrade its Trent 900 engines to help Airbus dig its way out of a recent sales trough, the sources said, asking not to be named.
However, no decision has yet been taken and Airbus has said its first priority is to keep carrying out other gradual improvements to the 525-seat aircraft, which entered service in 2007.
Rolls-Royce declined to comment on the potential engine move, which emerged ahead of next week’s Singapore Airshow.
A spokesman for Airbus said the European company was “always looking into all kinds of avenues to keep our aircraft at the cutting edge” and listed areas continually being reviewed including latest developments in engine technology.
The A380’s four engines are currently supplied by either Rolls-Royce or rival U.S. consortium Engine Alliance, owned by General Electric and Pratt & Whitney.
Engine Alliance said it was actively pursuing sales campaigns while “looking into possible enhancements to continually improve the performance and reliability of the GP7200 engines.”