Engine manufacturer CFM International announced yesterday here at Farnborough International 2014 that American Airlines has selected its Leap-1A turbofan engine to power 100 Airbus A320neos. At list price, CFM values the engine order at $2.6 billion. The aircraft order was originally announced in July 2011 and American will begin taking delivery of the aircraft in 2017.
Jean-Paul Ebanga, CFM president and CEO, likened the number of engines American has on order (430, comprising Leaps and CFM56s) to the entire CFM fleet in India. American already had orders for Leap-1B engines to power 100 Boeing 737 MAX airliners.
The latest sales announcement brings the Leap backlog to 6,970 engines, representing seven years of production. According to a company forecast, 45,000 single-aisle aircraft engines are needed over the 2013-2032 period. CFM is on the three aircraft that will account for an estimated 90 percent of single-aisle orders over that time–double-sourced (with Pratt & Whitney) on the A320neo and single-sourced on the 737 MAX and Comac C919–Ebanga asserted.
Meanwhile, CFMI executive v-p Allen Paxson gave details of the upcoming flight tests on two modified Boeing 747s. The Leap-1C will be the first to fly, as Comac has delivered the corresponding pylon on time. The -1C’s and -1A’s turbomachinery are the same.
On a 747 flying testbed aircraft, the engine is mounted in the number 2 position. In the cockpit, the pilot is in the left seat, while the crewmember in the right seat is responsible for test engine control. The third crewmember is a flight engineer and the cabin is filled with monitoring stations for the test engineers.
CFM (Outside Exhibit 22) recently received awards from all three aircraft manufacturers for which it is building engines. Airbus named the company its Best Performer–Propulsion for 2013; Boeing named CFM its Propulsion Supplier of the Year; and Comac awarded CFM its Performance Excellence Gold Award.