Top 5 World’s Largest Aircraft Engine Manufacturers

By Wiley Stickney

Published on

Have you ever wondered about the companies behind those powerful jet engines that keep planes soaring high above? Well, buckle up because GE Aerospace, Rolls-Royce, and Pratt & Whitney are the real deal when it comes to the jet engine market. GE Aerospace boasts the beefiest commercial engine out there, while Rolls-Royce keeps over 35 types of passenger aircraft cruising smoothly.

Pratt & Whitney deserves a shoutout for their iconic JT8 and JT9 engines. But wait, there’s more! They’re also leading the charge with their cutting-edge geared turbofan (GTF) engines, powering rockstars like the Airbus A220 and the A320neo family. How cool is that?

Now, let’s talk about CFM International – a dynamic duo formed by GE Aerospace and Safran Aircraft Engines. They’ve gained serious cred for their CFM56 series engines, which are the go-to for the Airbus A320 family. And get this – they’re cooking up the CFM LEAP engine for the next generation of narrowbody jets. Talk about keeping things fresh!

The jet engine world is like a vibrant tapestry, catering to commercial and military aviation, as well as industrial and marine sectors for power generation. But when it comes to the commercial aviation scene, a select squad of manufacturers rules the roost.

Beyond individual product lines, these companies often join forces through strategic partnerships, pooling their expertise and technologies for mutual benefit. So, let’s take a closer look at five of the biggest players and their impressive engine portfolios. No rankings here, folks – just pure jet engine awesomeness!

1. GE Aerospace

Based in Evendale, Ohio, GE Aerospace is a certified heavyweight in the global arena. They go toe-to-toe with Rolls-Royce and Pratt & Whitney, specializing in those beefy turbofan engines for large jets. But that’s not all – they’ve also teamed up with industry giants like Safran Aircraft Engines (CFM International) and P&W (Engine Alliance) to flex their muscles even further.

Key commercial products: Buckle up for the CF6, CF34, GE90, GP7200 (Engine Alliance), GEnx, GE Passport, and the jaw-dropping GE9X – the stars of GE Aerospace’s repertoire.

Noteworthy facts: Get ready for this – the GE9X, set to power the Boeing 777X, holds the Guinness World Record for the most powerful engine ever, achieving a mind-blowing thrust of 134,000 lbf. Whoa, baby!

2. Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce, that British powerhouse, is the second-largest aircraft engine maker, trailing closely behind GE Aerospace. Their claim to fame? The iconic RB211 and Trent engine families. And get this – the Trent 900 engines had the honor of propelling the Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial aircraft in service. How’s that for bragging rights?

Key commercial products: Rolls-Royce has a seriously diverse lineup, featuring the RB211 (used in Boeing 747, 767, Lockheed L-1011, Tupolev Tu-204), Trent 500 (Airbus A340), Trent 700 (Airbus A330), Trent 600 (Boeing 777), Trent 900 (Airbus A380), Trent 1000 (Boeing 787), Trent 7000 (Airbus A330-neo), and the Trent XWB (Airbus A350).

3. Pratt & Whitney

Next up, we’ve got Pratt & Whitney, an American aerospace legend operating under the Raytheon Technologies (RTX) umbrella. These guys are famous for their JT8 and JT9 engines. Fun fact: the JT9D engine was the powerhouse behind the original Boeing 747. And let’s not forget the PW4000 series, which keeps an array of Airbus and Boeing commercial jets soaring high.

But wait, there’s more! Pratt & Whitney, in collaboration with industry partners, is leading the charge in producing groundbreaking geared turbofan engines (GTF). These bad boys are the engine of choice for the Airbus A220, A320neo family, and the Embraer 190-E2. And as if that weren’t enough, they’re also part of the Engine Alliance joint venture with GE and the International Aero Engines consortium alongside Rolls-Royce and MTU Aero Engines. Talk about staying ahead of the curve!

Notable commercial products: Take a look at the JT8D/9D, PW300 (tailored for business jets), PW1000G (GTF), PW2000, PW4000, and the GP7000 (Airbus A380).

Fascinating details: Get this – Pratt & Whitney has over 16,000 commercial engines installed, powering more than 25% of the world’s commercial jets across 160 countries. That’s some serious global reach, folks!

4. CFM International

Now, let’s talk about CFM International (CFMI). This dynamic duo is an equal partnership between GE Aerospace and France-based Safran Aircraft Engines, with each holding a 50/50 stake. They teamed up to produce the iconic CFM56 series, which is the go-to for Boeing 737 Classics and NGs, as well as the Airbus A320 family.

But that’s not all – as of 2022, CFM56 engines were powering nearly 65% of the A320 family aircraft. Talk about market dominance! And their latest creation, the LEAP engine, is the engine of choice for the next generation of narrowbody jets, including the Airbus A320neo family, Boeing 737 MAX family, and the China-based COMAC C919.

Noteworthy details: The CFM56 engine is a real rockstar when it comes to low maintenance costs in the narrowbody engine market, securing a whopping 40% of the global commercial engine market share. Not too shabby, eh?

5. International Aero Engines (IAE)

Last but not least, let’s talk about the International Aero Engines (IAE) consortium. Established in 1983, this powerhouse team includes Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, Fiat Avio of Italy, MTU Aero Engines, and the Japanese Aero Engine Corporation (JAEC). Their first creation? The V2500, introduced in 1985, designed to power the Airbus A320 family, with the Roman numeral “V” symbolizing the joint venture of five companies. Pretty cool, right?

While Fiat Avio stepped back early (but still supplied parts), Rolls-Royce sold their 32.5% share to Pratt & Whitney in 2012. This move made Pratt & Whitney the top dog with a 49.5% share, while MTU and JAEC each own 25.25%. But don’t worry, Rolls-Royce still supplies the engine, which evolved into one of the most successful commercial engines in aviation history.

The V2500 engine is a direct competitor to the CFM56, packing a serious punch with its superior maximum thrust rating. Its exceptional performance really shines on larger aircraft models like the Airbus A321, offering improved unit economics for airlines using these birds.

Key commercial product: The one and only commercial product from IAE is the V2500, which not only powers the Airbus A320 family but also the McDonnell Douglas MD-90 aircraft. Although they had plans for a SuperFan derivative for the Airbus A340, the project hit some bumps in the road during its initial stages.

Interesting details: The V2500 is a true bestseller in the narrowbody market, with almost 8,000 engines produced since its launch. As of March 2023, around 5,300 engines were still cruising strong, collectively accumulating an impressive annual service duration of approximately 16 million hours. Now that’s what we call stamina!

Wiley is a former commercial pilot and flight instructor, who has flown over 50 different types of aircraft, from small propellers to large jets. He writes about the technical aspects of flying, such as aircraft design, aerodynamics, navigation, weather, and safety.