CFM International is confident Comac’s C919 program is progressing on a sound basis, but the engine manufacturer does have contingency plans for the Leap-1C turbofan it has designed for the narrowbody to mitigate program risks in case further delays arise.
CFM International last week froze the design of the Leap engine variant destined to power Boeing’s new 737 Max narrowbody. The Snecma-GE joint venture has said it expects to achieve the first full engine test of the Leap-1B in the middle of next year, followed by initial flight-testing in 2015 and powerplant certification in 2016. Boeing expects the 737 Max to enter service in 2017.
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.
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.
Former Powerjet chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Ebanga has assumed the role of president and chief executive officer of CFM International, the GE-Snecma joint venture announced today. Ebanga replaces Eric Bachelet, who had served as CFM president and CEO since September 2005. Bachelet has accepted the position of Safran executive vice president of research and technology.
Britain’s Labour Party Members are pushing for a full Parliamentary inquiry into a government deal to pump more than £32 million into Italian-owned helicopter maker AgustaWestland rather than British-owned companies. AW operates the former Westland plant in Yeovil that manufactures the heavy AW-101 and is expected to produce the AW169 medium twin. Treasury secretary Danny Alexander is defending the decision.
Certification this past summer by EASA and the Russian authorities of the Powerjet SaM 146 engine no doubt marked an important milestone in Franco-Russian industrial cooperation. But the wisdom of the decision by France’s Snecma to participate in the program will remain a matter of debate for years to come.
On February 16 AgustaWestland CEO Giuseppe Orsi and Tata Sons chairman Ratan Tata formed an Indian joint-venture company that will establish a final assembly line in India for the AW119 for the worldwide market. The joint venture will be responsible for AW119 final assembly, completion and delivery; AgustaWestland will retain responsibility for worldwide marketing and sales.
Snecma Services has signed an engineering support contract with Morocco’s flag carrier Royal Air Maroc. The two companies already participate in a partnership under their Snecma Morocco Engine Services joint venture–a maintenance, repair and overhaul shop for the Boeing 737s’ CFM56-3 and -B engines.
The PowerJet SaM146 turbofan that France’s Safran is showing in scale model form here at the Dubai Air Show (Stand W510) represents not just the application of engine subsidiary Snecma’s CFM56 experience to a regional jet-size engine but one of the most ambitious attempts yet to combine the strengths of Western and Russian aerospace technology.
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