EVENDALE, OHIO - Air France has selected a higher thrust version of the GE CF6-80E1 engine to power eight firm, five option Airbus Industrie A330-200 twinjets in an engine order valued at more than $250 million.

This strategic engine order launches the CF6-80E1A3 engine, the highest thrust derivative of GE Aircraft Engines' successful CF6 engine family for widebody aircraft.

The CF6-80E1A3 will be rated at 72,000 pounds of thrust, and incorporates a new high-pressure turbine (HPT) constructed of Rene 88 (R88), a material which increases parts life by as much as one-third to enhance durability and longer time on-wing. The new HPT will feature hardware common to that recently certified in the CF6-80C2B8F engine.

In addition, the CF6-80E1A3 compressor is enhanced with advanced 3D aerodynamics in the final eight stages for improved fuel burn and exhaust gas temperature (EGT) margins. The engine's increased thrust rating will provide the A330-200 with greater takeoff capability. The -80E1A3 derivative is scheduled for certification in 2001.

"Air France has given GE the opportunity to operate the CF6 at a higher thrust level with new technologies to enhance performance and durability," said Roger Seager, CF6 project general manager. "This is another key milestone for the CF6-80E1 on the A330."

Both the A330-300 and A330-200 aircraft were launched with the CF6-80E1 engine.

The CF6 is the world's most reliable family of aircraft engines powering a variety of widebody commercial aircraft. The engine of choice of more than 150 customers, the CF6 family enjoys a dispatch reliability rate of 99.94 percent after more than 190 million flight hours.