Snecma’s announcement in January that it is to develop the new SM-X turbofan for small regional airliners and mid-sized/large business jets took many by surprise, given the existence of several well-established players in the field and the enormous cost involved in designing and manufacturing an all-new powerplant.
CFM International CFM56
Pratt & Whitney has revealed the first newly manufactured components its Global Materials Solutions subsidiary has produced for the rival CFM56-3 engine.In response to CFM criticisms that non-genuine CFM56-3 parts could suffer reliability issues, P&W president Steve Finger said, “We’ve invested many millions in this program and have tremendous system knowledge of this engine. This is not uncharted land.”
General Electric (Hall 4 Stand B7) expects its revenues to grow to a record $12.8 billion in 2006–almost 8 percent more than last year. The U.S. engine maker said here that services are driving the increase.
Sales continue to be brisk, with 1,600 CFM56 orders last year and an expectation for approximately as many this year. Meanwhile, the order book for the GEnx has swelled to almost 600 engines.
CFM International predicts a huge demand over the next 20 years for up to 30,000 engines to power single-aisle aircraft as China, India, Latin America and Russia increase their fleet densities to the levels of western countries.
Airbus’ A318, and the A318 Elite executive version, are undergoing approval to make 5.5-degree steep approaches, such as that used into London City Airport. The steep approach approval, which included flight trials by the A318 into London City in mid-May, will enable the type to fly into airports that are constrained by surrounding obstacles or restrictive noise limits.
Snecma Services (Hall 4 Stand B12) has won an engine maintenance, repair and overhaul contract from Nouvelair, a Tunisian leisure operator. The contract covers 27 CFM56-5A and –5B engines, which power Airbus A320 family aircraft. It notably includes double annular combustor support. In Morocco, Snecma Services’ joint venture with Royal Air Maroc, Snecma Morocco Engine Services (SMES), has upgraded its engine test cell.
The CFM56-5B turbofan, an option on the Airbus Corporate Jetliner and A318 Elite ultra-large business jets, is now certified in an improved version. The so-called Tech Insertion upgrade takes advantage of the Snecma-General Electric Tech56 technology acquisition program. It is claimed to yield longer time on wing thanks to an additional 15- to 20-degree C margin in exhaust gas temperature limitations.
After announcing the launch of its Global Material Solutions (GMS) division in February, engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has been busy making and testing parts for the CFM56-3 engine of its rivals General Electric and Snecma. Pratt & Whitney’s service division already overhauls and repairs CFM56 engines for airline customers and the company created GMS so that it could also offer lower-cost new parts to CFM56 operators.
Engine manufacturers are enjoying the boom in civil aircraft sales as much as other suppliers, but this does not mean the battle for orders is any less tough. The pace set by CFM International last year, when the 50/50 General Electric/Snecma partnership sold a record 1,640 engines, seems likely to continue this year.
Safran (Hall 4 Stand B12), the offspring of last year’s somewhat surprising merger of French engine giant Snecma and communications group Sagem, claims to have found its feet quickly and to be having a boom year. Sales in 2005 showed increases for all business areas of the new group, except communications.