The delivery forms the initial shipment of more than 200 engines ordered by Emirates in April 2015 as part of a US$9.2 billion deal which remains the engine maker's largest ever single order. The decision by Emirates to switch from the Engine Alliance GP7200 used on the current A380 fleet was seen as a coup for Rolls-Royce whose victory was linked to its willingness to develop both an updated variant for the baseline aircraft as well as an advanced engine for a proposed A380neo.
Rolls-Royce, which now holds just under 70% of the current firm order backlog for the A380 with the addition of the latest Emirates aircraft plus three ordered more recently by All Nippon Airways of Japan, says 11 out of 17 operators have now selected the Trent 900. The engine is currently in service with eight airlines on 77 aircraft. Emirates says the first Rolls-powered A380 will enter service by the end of 2016.
The Trent 900s for Emirates are also the first to be built to the new EP3 (enhanced performance 3) standard. The company introduced the first "EP" standard in 2012 and the second phase, EP2, in 2014. "Now we have EP3 which we kicked off for Emirates and will be the build standard going forward," says Peter Johnston, head of customer marketing for Airbus at Rolls-Royce.
The EP3 package includes elliptical leading edges on compressor blades, and a variety of improvements "around aerodynamics," says Johnston, who adds the EP3 is "quite an unusual mod package because it was done in less than a year, and none of the modifications change the overall certification and none of them needed a type test." The package includes casing improvements, optimizing cooling air and sealing and "improvements around the high pressure turbine, which will be important given the operating environment," he adds.