The gloves are off at Paris where the battle to power the Airbus A320NEO is getting underway. CFM isn’t saying so officially, but all the indications point to a landslide of orders for the Leap engine which was only officially launched on the Airbus (as the Leap X1A) with a Virgin America order three days ago.
Pratt & Whitney, which until June 15, was the sole provider for the NEO with its PW1100G geared turbofan, seems to be keeping its power dry for later in the show, while CFM only hints at events to come with tantalizing news that it is planning four order announcements per day for the first four days of the show.
CFM executive vice president Chaker Chahrour was in expansive and bullish mood today as he provided an update on the Leap engine and its renewed sales surge – reinvigorated by the recent decision to grow the fan by 2 inches and add a seventh LP turbine stage. Commenting on Pratt’s early success and its pole position on the A320NEO he says “you can lose a battle but win the war. We always beat the competition and we intend to do the same with Leap versus GTF.”
Dropping hints - CFM's Chaker Chahrour expounds on the Leap engine at Paris (Guy Norris)
Up for grabs are potential orders for more than 300 NEOs from a group including ILFC, GECAS, TAM of Brazil and Malaysian low cost carrier Air Asia. The PW1100G engine is already launched on the A320NEO following firm commitments from Lufthansa, ILFC and India’s IndiGo, while the first version of the Leap engine (Leap X1C) is already committed to development for the Comac C919. Both engines are also officially in the frame for possible use on a re-engined Boeing 737. To-date Pratt & Whitney has announced agreements to power 240 of the 332 A320NEO aircraft confirmed so far.
So watch this space as these numbers are about to change!