July 07, 2012
CFM will deliver the first Leap production engines in 2016 and will fully transition assembly to the new generation engine by 2020.
The General Electric Snecma joint venture is ramping up Leap production plans to support the phase-in of the new engine for the Airbus A320NEO, Boeing 737 MAX and Comac C919. At the same time, the company is also producing record numbers of the current CFM56-5/7 families. Between the versions CFM holds a current backlog of 9,100 engines or six years worth of production.
The first Leap-1A and -1C versions are scheduled to enter service on the A320NEO and C919 respectively in the second quarter of 2016. The -1B is set to enter service on the 737 MAX at the end of 2017.
The transition comes as CFM faces a continuing long-term growth trend which will see production exceed 1,500 engines per year for the remainder of the decade.
Deliveries of CFM56s are expected to reach 1,442 this year and while overall numbers will grow beyond this, an expanding portion will be made up of Leap models from 2016 onwards. Approximately one-third of the engines delivered in 2017, and three-quarters in 2018 will be the Leap model.
Although the transition will be essentially complete in 2019, the first full year of Leap delivery is due to be in 2020. During the end of the decade “we will continue to produce 100 to 120 CFM56 engines to support the fleet, and we will be producing spares,” says CFM56 general manager Chaker Chahrour.
CFM is working to set up the supplier base for Leap and has selected 250 providers for finished parts, and 80 raw materials suppliers. “We must be successful or we fail together,” comments newly-appointed CFM56 program director for Snecma, Cedric Goubet.
Some $640 million is being invested in new facilities including new fan blade production sites in Rochester, New Hampshire and Commercy, France. “Full scale RTM (resin transfer molding) fan production will begin in 2014,” says Goubet who adds the two sites are scheduled to be supplying up to 32,000 blades per year by 2019.