Comac has received 50 more commitments for its new C919 narrowbody airliner. Three contracts announced on the first day of Airshow China 2012 in Zhuhai call for 20 each of the twinjet to go to Chinese carriers Joy Air and Hebei Aviation, with 10 more signed for by leasing group Gecas. But the first flight of the C919 now seems likely to be pushed back again due to a new delay with Comac’s ARJ21 regional airliner development.
China’s Comac group has admitted it could take another “one or two years” complete certification of the already-delayed ARJ21 regional airliner.
The ninth edition of the biennial Airshow China opens at Zhuhai Airport in the southern province of Guangdong on November 13, with organizers promising the largest event since its start in 1996. Some 650 exhibitors from 39 countries have flocked to mainland China’s largest airshow, with many of the 80 aircraft present due to take part in the flying display before it closes on November 18.
CFM faces some uncertainties surrounding its Leap-1C turbofans for the Comac C919 narrowbody, although the engine program schedule calls for that variant of the three-member Leap family to go to test first.
CFM, the 50/50 joint venture between GE and Snecma, has embarked on a “major” risk-abatement plan to ensure a smooth production transition from its CFM56 to the new Leap-1A, B and C engines, chosen to power, respectively, the Airbus A320neo, the Boeing 737 Max and the Comac C919 single-aisle airliners. “Transitioning from 1,600 engines per year to the same output of another type in two years, this is something the industry has never done before,” François Harant, Snecma’s supply chain director, told AIN.
With leasing companies taking positions on Boeing’s new 737 Max, the Asia-Pacific region holds the key to large narrowbody orders, according to Boeing’s senior vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and India, Dinesh Keskar. “We have three potential customers in India and more in Asia [that can take the Max] on lease or direct buy: Jet Airways, SpiceJet and even Air India Express,” he told AIN. “[The Max] can go 500 additional miles, which will be a big boon for the Asian market.”
CFM International is set to head home from the Farnborough International airshow with some $12.6 billion in new engine sales—nearly doubling its 2012 order book. One dozen different clients—a mix of airlines and leasing groups—signed for nearly 1,000 of the new Leap family engines.
Strong positions on new programs have resulted in GE Aviation Systems finding itself busy across five continents. For instance, in its U.S. home, the systems and components group is ramping up for increased rates of production for its extensive contributions to Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner.
Italian propulsion component company Avio has made the trip to Farnborough to showcase its role in some of the engine industry’s latest and most advanced offerings.
A GE partner, Avio holds a 12-percent share in the GEnx engine (an option for the Boeing 787) and carries responsibility for the accessory drive gearbox, stator parts of the low-pressure turbine and lubrication system.
Few expected CFM International to match its record sales campaign of 2011 this year, but after his company sold 900 engines through the first six months of 2012, one might excuse company chief executive Jean-Paul Ebanga for a moment to allow him to catch his breath.