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Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates covers top industry events to bring you the latest news, highlighting how it impacts Boeing and its competitors.

June 24, 2011 at 9:37 AM

CFM's LEAP engine has huge wins at the Paris Air Show

Posted by Dominic Gates

LEAP engine.pngGoing into the Paris Air Show, of the two next-generation engines on offer to power the Airbus A320neo, the Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan had got most of the press and all of the orders.

But the alternative engine, the CFM International LEAP (right, CFM graphic), made huge gains at the Show.

CFM booked firm orders in Paris for 910 LEAP engines to power 455 Airbus A320neo aircraft. The orders are valued at more than $11 billion at list prices.

AirAsia ordered 400 of these engines to power its 200 Airbus A320neo aircraft.
In addition, the following airlines also picked the LEAP to power their neos:
Virgin America (30 A320neos)
International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC) (40 A320neos)
GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) (60 A320neos)
CIT Aerospace (15 A320neos)
Republic Airways Holdings, parent company of U.S.-based Frontier Airlines (40 A319neos and 40 A320neos)
SAS (30 A320neos)

In addition to powering the A320neo, the LEAP will also power COMAC's 150-seater C919 aircraft from China. To date, 100 of those aircraft have been ordered.

Boeing won't decide until later this year whether to put a new engine on the 737. But if it does, it will likely be the CFM International LEAP engine. And if Boeing goes for a new small airplane, the LEAP will power it.

CFM, a joint venture between GE and French engine-maker Snecma, makes all the engines for the current 737s. Those CFM-56 engines are so reliable that they typically stay on wing for 20,000 flights.

Assuming the routine grinding daily schedule of a workhorse domestic aircraft of around a half dozen flights a day, that's an astonishing nine to ten years between major maintenance overhauls.

Since 2005, GE and Snecma have invested $1 billion to $2 billion each year to develop the LEAP engine, the next-generation successor to the CFM-56.

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