The General Electric Snecma CFM International joint venture has clinched its first Leap engine orders for the Airbus A320neo from Virgin America and ILFC according to a Bloomberg report. The deal, which is widely expected to be officially confirmed at the Paris air show, includes engines for up to 70 aircraft, 40 of them for ILFC and 30 for Virgin America. The orders are the first on the A320neo for CFM in what promises to be a decade-long battle with Pratt & Whitney’s competing PW1100G geared turbofan. The Pratt engine is already launched on the A320neo following firm commitments from Lufthansa, ILFC (with an MoU for 60 A320neos) and India’s IndiGo, while the Leap is already launched as the engine for the Chinese Comac C919. Both engines are also officially in the frame for possible use on a re-engined Boeing 737.
Leap breakthrough on A320neo (CFM)
To-date Pratt & Whitney has won agreements to power 240 of the 332 A320neo aircraft confirmed so far. Airbus has publicly targeted orders and commitments for 500 or more neo by the Paris air show, meaning that announcements could be due on orders for at least 160-170 additional aircraft later this month if it is to make its number. Some 22 of these will likely come from Brazilian carrier TAM which is yet to firm up either its earlier selection of the neo or an engine choice.