In January, Pratt & Whitney achieved a major milestone in its campaign to become a certified supplier of spares for CFM International’s CFM56-3 turbofans when it ran the first engine test containing parts it had re-engineered and manufactured. The event marked one of the final steps toward certification and delivery of the first P&W-manufactured CFM56-3 parts to the ground-breaking service’s launch customer, United Airlines.
CFM International, the engine manufacturing joint venture between General Electric and Snecma of France, is forging ahead with a range of advanced engine studies as part of its leading edge aviation propulsion (LEAP56) program.
CFM International has announced that New Delhi, India, will be the location for the company’s fourth aircraft engine maintenance training school. It is slated to open in 2010.
Brian Rowe, former head of GE Aviation, died February 22. He was 75. Rowe joined GE in 1957 and later led the CF6 engine program. He was named head of GE Aviation in 1979. Rowe launched the CF34 turbofan for business and regional jets, the F110 for the F-16 fighter and the CF6-80C2, which powers the Airbus A300/A300-600/A310 series, the Boeing 747-300/400, MD-11 and Lockheed Martin C-5.
Snecma, the leading French aerospace engine and equipment-manufacturing group is no more. A series of moves has transformed it from the government-controlled producer of the successful CFM aircraft engines with General Electric of the U.S. into a private undertaking that last month merged with telecommunications group Sagem to form Safran.
Boeing’s ability to use the same engine for the 737-900ER as it uses on the standard -900 undoubtedly helped the company justify its investment in the project, but that doesn’t mean the newest 737 won’t benefit from new powerplant technology.
CFM International is on track to offer major performance and emissions improvements to operators of the CFM56 following completion of an extensive flight test program of its Tech Insertion package. Based on developments from the Project Tech56 program, the upgrade will provide Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 operators with longer time on wing, 5 percent lower maintenance costs and up to 20 percent lower emissions of oxides of nitrogen.
Sichuan Snecma Aero-engine Maintenance Co. (SSAMC), a joint venture between Snecma Services, Air China and Willis Lease Finance Corp., has signed an exclusive 20-year maintenance, repair and overhaul agreement to service CFM56-5B and -7B engines powering Air China’s growing fleet of 160 aircraft.
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.
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.