On May 2, CFM International froze the design for the Leap-1B engine that is to power Boeing’s 737Max narrowbody and, eventually, the Boeing Business Jets derived from the airliner. The engine manufacturer, which is a joint venture between Snecma and GE, has said it on track to achieve the first full engine test in mid-2014, followed by initial flight testing in 2015 and powerplant certification in 2016. The 737Max is due to enter service in 2017.
Airbus and Boeing each secured major commitments for their respective narrowbodies last week, potentially helping to quiet some of the debate surrounding the extent of their production rate increases.
With deliveries of Boeing’s 787 suspended pending an FAA review prompted by a string of technical problems, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has still not completed certification of the new widebody.
If nothing else, China’s Comac has shown considerable persistence in its pursuit of certification for the ARJ21-700 regional jet, now more than a decade into development and at least a year-and-a-half away from entry into service.
Beyond an admission by China’s Comac that the development timetable for its new C919 narrowbody will be pushed back by a further delay of one or two years in the certification of its ARJ21 regional airliner, precise details on the program is progressing remain hard to pin down.
Bombardier and China’s Comac announced last week at Airshow China in Zhuhai the successful conclusion of the first phase of their collaboration covering program commonalities between the Canadian company’s new CSeries airliner and the Comac C919 narrowbody.
Few would argue with the characterization by a senior Western airframe manufacturer of the Comac C919 as “a serious project by a serious company.” But the clumsy effort by the Chinese conglomerate to certify the ARJ21 regional jet begs the question: Do serious intentions necessarily equate to a serious product?
China’s Spring Airlines has ordered CFM56-5B engines to power a pair of new Airbus A320s that it is due to received in January and July 2014. Engine maker CFM International announced the $40 million deal on November 14 at Airshow China 2012.
China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga) selected GE Aviation’s H85 turboprop engine to power its new Primus 150. Set to be the first purpose-built executive turboprop single built in China, the Primus 150 is a pressurized five-seater with an all-composite carbon-fiber airframe. No certification timeline was available at press time.
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.