March 15 Boeing on Friday chose General
Electric Co as its sole engine partner for the
forthcoming 777X, indicating that the U.S. aircraft maker was
going ahead with the next generation of its most profitable
"This decision to work with GE going forward reflects the
best match to the development program, schedule and airplane
performance," Bob Feldmann, the vice president and general
manager of 777X development, said in a statement.
Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc and United Technologies
Corp's Pratt & Whitney had supplied engines for early
versions of the 777, but GE was picked as sole supplier for the
longer-range versions of the aircraft that went into service in
The wide-body 777 is one of the most successful jets of all
time in terms of sales, and airlines are eager for a version
that can go farther on less fuel with more passengers.
"We are aggressively moving forward on our (development)
plan and will continue to refine requirements with customers,"
A Rolls-Royce spokesman said, "This decision simply
maintains the existing situation in the widebody market in which
we are the market leader with over 50% share. We are confident
that the proposal we put forward was extremely competitive."
Rolls-Royce is the sole engine supplier for the Airbus
A350-1000, which will compete with the future revamped
400-seat version of the 777, Boeing's best-selling long-range
The next steps for the 777X would include approval from
Boeing's board for offering the plane to customers and launching
it as a committed airplane program. The planes are expected to
enter service at the end of the decade.
However, at least one major Boeing customer, aircraft
leasing company International Lease Finance Corp, has urged the
company not to rush into development of a new 777 model, saying
the current 365-seat 777-300ER would work well into the next
The leasing company noted that Boeing in any case had its
hand full resolving the crisis related to the grounding of its
787 Dreamliners jets.
Regulators grounded Dreamliners worldwide in January after a
battery caught fire on a Japan Airlines Co 787 jet at
Boston's Logan airport and a battery melted on an All Nippon
Airways Co flight in Japan.
Boeing said on Friday that Dreamliner jets could be airborne
within weeks using a new battery system that includes safeguards
against overheating, a prediction that drew skepticism from some
regulators and industry experts.
Boeing's shares closed at $86.43, while GE's stock closed at
$23.44, on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.