Since its launch by General Electric (GE) in 1990 and entry into commercial service in 1995, the GE90 engine has been powering aircraft for 32 years. Designed specifically for the Boeing 777 aircraft family, GE has been continually evolving the engine with new technology. More powerful options have since been launched, with the latest variant designed for the Boeing 777X family of aircraft.

Aircraft compatible with the GE90

In November 1995, the first commercial flight powered by the GE90 was operated by British Airways, from London Heathrow to Dubai. The engine model used was the GE90-94B. This engine was designed to power Boeing 777-200 and Boeing 777-300 aircraft. Since then, over 70 airlines have used this engine and its upgraded variant – GE90-115B. The GE90-94B is rated at 94,000 lbs of thrust, while the GE90-115B was the first engine in the 100,000 lbs of thrust class.

GE designed the engine specifically for Boeing 777 aircraft, but the aircraft is compatible with other types of engines. Therefore, operators have different engine options available from other manufacturers. Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney are other main options for Boeing 777. GE90 engines are capable of powering all models of Boeing 777 aircraft.

DHL Boeing 777-F N776CK (2)

Boeing 777F aircraft are powered exclusively by GE90 engines. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

20 years since the evolution of the GE90

The next generation of GE90 was launched by GE in September 2002, when the GE90-115B completed its first test flight. A more powerful engine was required for the next generation of Boeing 777 aircraft. This model has a higher thrust rating than its predecessor and was designed for longer-range aircraft in the Extended Range and Long Range categories – Boeing 777-300ER and Boeing 777-200LR.

As mentioned earlier, GE is the sole engine supplier for those aircraft and the Boeing 777F after being selected by Boeing to produce an engine with higher thrust. The GE90-115B is the exclusive powerplant for these aircraft, and the engine is rated at up to 115,300 lbs of thrust. Air France, Japan Airlines, All Nippon Airways, EVA Air, and several aircraft leasing companies were the first airlines to order these aircraft with the new engine.

On the 25th Anniversary, in 2020, of the GE90 entering into service Mike Kauffman, GE Aviation GE90 Program Manager, said at the time.

We are excited to celebrate another GE90 milestone and would like to congratulate everyone involved in the engine’s success. We continue to deliver these extremely reliable engines and our dedicated product support team will maintain the GE90 for many years to come, providing maximum value throughout its lifecycle.

KLM Boeing 777-300(ER) PH-BVV

KLM operates a fleet of Boeing 777 aircraft powered by GE90 engines. Photo: Vincenzo Pace | Simple Flying

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32 years of service

It is believed that approximately 2,800 GE90 engines have been produced. According to data from ch-aviation.com, there are currently 1,015 active aircraft across 60 carriers operating aircraft with GE90 engines and variants. This compares with 82 aircraft across 14 carriers operating with Rolls-Royce engines and 67 aircraft across five carriers operating with Pratt & Whitney engines.

GE engines predominately power Boeing 777 aircraft and its variants. This is likely to continue with further evolution of the engine. According to Boeing, the GE9X is the ‘largest and most powerful commercial aircraft engine ever built.’ It is designed for the new Boeing 777X family of aircraft and is a world record holder, achieving 134,300 lbs of thrust.

Source: simpleflying.com

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