Posted on: 09 July 2016 by Mark Howells
The CFM56 will hit its all-time high for deliveries within a calendar year in 2016 with 1,700 engines to be handed over this year, after which there will be an increasing number of LEAP engines delivered, according to the company’s president and CEO, Jean-Paul Ebanga.
Moreover, there will also be more than 100 LEAP engines delivered this year, beginning with the handover of the first A320neo with LEAP-1A engines to Pegasus Airlines on 19 July in Hamburg. After this year, LEAP production will rise to around 500 in 2017 and around 1,100 in 2018 as it makes its way to the target of 2,000 engine deliveries in 2020.
Ebanga noted that the aviation industry is strong at present because fuel prices are low, air travel is booming, so utilisation is up – leading to strong airline financials (a $39.4 billion airline net profit is projected for 2016).
“For CFM this means a lot of good news. Looking at the [sales] numbers at the end of June, we are up 8%,” Ebanga reported. “Within first six months of the year, we sold 700 CFM56s and 960 LEAP engines, valued at $22 billion. And all the customers buying A320ceos in 2016 have ordered CFM56s.” The LEAP orders mentioned take the programme’s total orderbook to more than 10,800.
Giving some background to his thread that 2016 is a big year for CFM, Ebanga recalled that in 2008 when the LEAP programme was officially launched, “there was no customer and no new aircraft programme”. Just after that, the financial crash came and still GE and Safran continued to invest in LEAP. “Now the engine has achieved market acceptance and the development has been a textbook case,” the CEO declared.
Executive vice-president Allen Paxson explained that the point of focus at Farnborough 2016 – after technology in 2012 and production readiness in 2014 – is utilisation. “It’s very important to achieve the extremely high bar set by the CFM56. We are aiming to get close on reliability right out of the box with the LEAP. But the CFM56 keeps on producing better results, so we’re going to be chasing its levels with the LEAP family as we look for enhanced time-on-wing margins to keep maintenance costs low.”
Paxson’s fellow EVP François Bastin described the LEAP flight test programme as “the best we’ve ever had”. He reported that the LEAP-1A had achieved 450+ flights since 19 May 2015, while the LEAP-1B – already with four aircraft in the air – has, in three months, performed 300+ flights. For the LEAP-1C on the COMAC C919, the complete propulsion system is ready for first flight, which CFM still has scheduled on its timeline as late this year.
“We are truly ready for entry-into-service (EIS),” confirmed Bastin. “In fact, we have 50+ EISs planned over the next three years including six in the 100 days following the first.”
Ebanga rounded off by highlighting another pillar of the programme, customer readiness. “We have had teams engaged for four years preparing for EIS and they’ve been working alongside the customers for just over two years,” he noted, to emphasise the company’s level of preparedness.
Bernie Baldwin, editor, Low-Fare & Regional Airlines/laranews.net