Engine manufacturer CFM International reports that the Leap series of turbofans under development for the new Airbus A320neo, Boeing 737 Max and Comac C919 narrowbodies is performing as planned since full engine testing began last month. “I’m proud and really happy to tell you that the engine is running smoothly,” Chaker Chahrour, CFM executive vice president, told reporters in a teleconference on October 16. “This engine wants to run.”
Airbus A320neo family
CFM International—the 50-50 joint venture between GE and France’s Snecma—has started testing the first full Leap turbofan engine, the company announced Friday. The Leap-1A—one of the powerplant choices for the Airbus A320neo—fired for the first time on September 4, two days ahead of schedule.
International Airlines Group (IAG), the parent company of British Airways, has secured firm orders and options for up to 220 Airbus A320 family narrowbodies, of which it plans to assign 120 to its Barcelona-based low-fare subsidiary, Vueling. IAG said the new aircraft will allow Vueling to replace some of its existing A320s and expand its business.
Malaysia-based low-fare carrier AirAsia plans to phase out its foreign pilots as part of the carrier’s goal to employ an all-Malaysian workforce and to cut costs. The exercise would happen gradually with the expiration of the pilots’ respective contracts.
ILFC, a wholly owned subsidiary of American International Group and one of the world’s largest aircraft lessors, preaches diversification in terms of aircraft and engine purchases, geographical distribution of its fleet and in the forms of leasing and financial programs it employs. Its Airbus A320 orders, which number 769 following additions at last month’s Paris Air Show, perhaps best reflect the company’s philosophy, notwithstanding the calculated risk it took when it signed as the A320neo’s launch customer.
International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) has been busy announcing a procession of airframe and engine deals here in Paris. On Tuesday, the company announced it had signed for CFM International Leap-1A engines to power a further 20 Airbus A320neo jetliners. That brought the total backlog to 60 shipsets. With the aircraft scheduled to begin deliveries in 2016, the new order is valued at $510 million.
SS White Technologies (Hall 6, A60), supplier of aerospace flexible rotary shafts, is providing its shafts to transmit power to activate the thrust reversal actuation systems on the nacelle of the Pratt & Whitney Pure Power engine for the Airbus A320neo. The company is also providing flexible shafts to activate bomb bay doors on the new Kawasaki P1 maritime patrol aircraft presently under development to replace the PC-3 fleet. The first two operational aircraft were delivered in March.
Boeing and Ryanair reached terms on the U.S. manufacturer’s largest ever firm aircraft order from a European airline yesterday. The deal, worth $15.6 billion at current list prices, calls for delivery over five years of 175 new Boeing 737-800s starting in September 2014. The order stands to raise Ryanair’s fleet count to more than 400 by the summer of 2018 from about 300 today.
Here at the Paris Air Show yesterday Robert Martin, managing director and CEO of Singapore-based BOC Aviation, a subsidiary of the Bank of China, shook hands with CFM International executive v-p Chaker Chahrour on a deal for CFM’s LEAP 1A engine to power 10 A320neos–the lessor’s first neo order. BOC also ordered CFM56-5B powerplants for 10 A320ceo aircraft, the total value of the commitments amounting to $460 million at list prices. Martin said at the signing ceremony at CFM’s stand (Hall 2a B252) that the lessor would add 50 aircraft to its fleet this year.
UK airline easyJet placed conditional orders with Airbus on Tuesday for 100 new A320neos and 35 Sharklet-equipped A320s worth $12 billion at list prices. The A320s are scheduled for delivery between 2015 and 2017, while the A320neos will be delivered from 2017 to 2022, according to the announcement at the Paris Air Show.
EasyJet said 85 of the aircraft will be used to replace aging aircraft as they leave the fleet over the next nine years; the remaining aircraft deliveries will support the carrier’s strategy of increasing its seat capacity by 3 to 5 percent annually.