Now we have the long-awaited first battle "GTF vs. LEAP-X" fought out: the GTF (PW1133G) won at ILFC. Today they ordered up to 100 A320NEO aircraft, 60 of them will be powered by the GTF, the rest remains open.
Of course, this is only the first round of the battle, with many more to follow.
But many, including me, would have thought that a leasing company would opt for both engines, leaving their customers a choice.
Per CFM and PW, both engines promise the same reduction in fuel burn.
PW states that the GTF has 20% lower maintenance costs compared to today's engines - probably they compare the GTF to the V2500. CFM says maintenance costs for the LEAP-X will stay where they are with the CFM56 today. So at the end of the day the maintenance cost should be comparable, as the V2500 with it's 2nd HPT stage has "by definition" higher maintenance cost than the CFM56.
So the question is: why ILFC feels better with the GTF than with the LEAP-X - at least for the time being? Do they know something the public does not know?
One could say it is just a matter of a good deal, of course, and that could be right. PW might have offered ILFC a to good deal not to make. But on the other hand, pricing power should be something that CFM could play with - they have thousands of engines in the field and will have many more when the deal comes "online" in 2016 and beyond, so they could cross-subsidize more easily than PW can with their limited market power in the narrowbody market, as they are tied to RR in the V2500 - not to speak about the virtually non-existent widebody market power, where their only really selling products are the GP7000 (in a joint venture with GE) - the PW4000 picked up a little bit recently after it got the Advatage70 package.
Bottom line: it is unlikely that pricing power was the driving factor behind the engine decision from ILFC.
Let's wait for the next battles and their outcomes - maybe we can see some kind of a pattern then...
Oh, and by the way - I would love to know what our "friend" Saj Ahmad from the fleetbuzz Editorial has to say about the GTF now...